Category Archives: Local News

EPA reaches cleanup decision for radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund site, 09/26/2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Bryce Gray

After years of bureaucratic inaction and escalating frustration and concern from the surrounding community, the Environmental Protection Agency has finally settled on a strategy to clean up the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton.

Compared with a proposal from earlier this year, the selected remedy is about $30 million cheaper and will be completed about one year faster.

The agency said late Wednesday that it would slightly modify its earlier proposal to partly remove the site’s contamination, employing “more flexibility” by digging to varying depths to target spots where radioactivity is concentrated. The strategy is outlined in a record of decision, set to be signed Thursday morning in Washington by the agency’s acting administrator, Andrew Wheeler. READ MORE

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Owners of Bridgeton Landfill reach $16 million agreement, 06/29/2018

KSDK – 5 On Your Side
by Grant Bissell

ST. LOUIS – After a years-long battle, the owners of the Bridgeton Landfill in north St. Louis County will pay $16 million, in part to improve the health and safety in the area.

A St. Louis County judge made the decision Friday afternoon.

For people who’ve claimed to be affected by the landfill, Friday’s agreement was a long-time coming.  READ MORE


Federal report: Coldwater Creek contamination may raise the risk of cancer in north St. Louis County residents, 06/18/2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Blythe Bernhard

Coldwater Creek radiation testing
Environmental engineers Juan Alvarado(left) and Dave Guyan test soil samples taken along the banks of Coldwater Creek behind a shopping center in the 400 block N Lindbergh Boulevard in Florissant on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. The samples are tested for radiation at the site before they’re packaged up in metal cans and sent to a lab for further radiation testing. Photo by David Carson,

People who lived near or played in the contaminated Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County from the 1960s to the 1990s may have an increased risk of developing certain cancers, a federal report has found.  READ MORE

Residents fear for West Lake Landfill plan after Superfund chief, 05/01/2018 resigns

St. Louis Public Radio
by Lindsay Toler

Albert Kelly, former head of the EPA's Superfund Task Force, and EPA Region 7 administrator Cathy Stepp attend a town hall in Bridgeton about the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in October 2017
Albert Kelly, former head of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force, and EPA Region 7 administrator Cathy Stepp attend a town hall in Bridgeton about the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in October 2017 FILE PHOTO | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund Task Force resigned Tuesday after one year in the role, leaving residents in northwest St. Louis County unsure about the fate of a proposal to clean up West Lake Landfill.

Albert Kelly, former EPA senior advisor, did not immediately return a call for comment. Media reports say the ex-banking executive resigned after relentless bad press about his financial dealings. Before he joined the EPA, Kelly helped administrator Scott Pruitt get financing to pay for a mortgage and to buy a minor league baseball team. Later, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. banned Kelly from the industry because of a previous banking violation. READ MORE

Bill Gates: Help clean up your toxic St. Louis dump, 04/17/2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Dr. Stuart Slavin

Bill Gates

Bill Gates continues his extraordinary legacy of philanthropy, recently committing $50 million to the fight against Alzheimer’s. Through his personal giving and his foundations, Gates has had a major impact on challenging global issues, but his help is needed now in the middle of the American heartland here in St. Louis.

Gates owns a large stake in the waste management company Republic Services. In a July 2017 SEC filing, Gates was reported to own 108,502,519 shares of this company, worth some $6.9 billion, representing more than 30 percent of all Republic shares and making him the largest single shareholder in the company. He has owned much of this stock for some time, holding at least 90 million shares since 2014. Over the past three years, the stock price has approximately doubled, giving him a gain of more than $3 billion.

EPA head says final West Lake cleanup plan could mean more aggressive removal of material, 03/12/2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Chuck Raasch

WASHINGTON • Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Monday that he believes he has proposed a “sound, solid” solution to clean up the West Lake Landfill Superfund site — but that a final decision could include excavating more than the 67 percent of the site the EPA says will be sufficient to protect the health of neighboring residents.


Public weighs in on West Lake proposal, overwhelmingly wants more thorough cleanup, 03/07/2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Bryce Gray

This is all I have left of my daughter,” said Kirbi Pemberton, who holds up a lock of hair from her daughter who died in 2014, during the public comment portion of the EPA West Lake Landfill clean up meeting on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, at the District 9 Machinists Hall. Pemberton grew up Spanish Village and has always lived within 5 miles of the West Lake Landfill. Pemberton believes her family’s health issues are related to the contamination. Her daughter died of a rare brain cancer at the age of 12, in 2014. To the right is Just Moms STL leaders Karen Nichols. The EPA has proposed removing some of the radioactive material at the site but not all the radioactive material. The public did not support their proposal. Photo by Laurie Skrivan,

BRIDGETON • Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a long-awaited proposal to partially remove the radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site here, while placing a protective cap over material left behind. READ MORE

EPA wants to do partial excavation of contaminants at radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund site, 02/01/2018

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Bryce Gray

“In a long-awaited decision, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it aims to pursue partial excavation as its strategy to remediate the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton — the home of waste linked to the Manhattan Project.”

EPA wants to do partial excavation of contaminants at radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund site

Residents urge EPA to excavate Bridgeton landfill, relocate neighbors, 10/20/2017

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
by Bryce Gray

Meagan Beckermann of North County talks about the recent miscarriage of her daughter Faith and her eight-year-old son Trevor who has alopecia, as she speaks at a listening session before representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 at the District 9 Machinists Hall in Bridgeton. EPA senior advisor Albert Kelly announced at the meeting that the agency would be expanding their testing area around the West Lake Landfill. Photo by Robert Cohen,

BRIDGETON • One after another, dozens of north St. Louis County residents issued resounding calls for full excavation of the contents of West Lake Landfill and relocation of nearby residents, as the Environmental Protection Agency approaches a cleanup decision for the Superfund site where radioactive waste has languished for decades.

The long string of speakers shared personal experiences — often recounting health complications suffered by loved ones — and voiced strong opinions at Thursday night’s “community listening session.”

Their pleas for the maximally protective cleanup of the site were made to top-ranking EPA officials who attended the meeting along with more than 100 members of the public.
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EPA plans to conduct further testing for radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill, 10/20/2019

St. Louis Public Radio
by Eli Chen

This radiation warning sign is one of many posted on the chain link fence surrounding part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo. FILE PHOTO | SARAH SKIOLD-HANLIN | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to conduct further testing for radioactive contamination at the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton.

Albert Kelly, senior adviser to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and the head of the agency’s Superfund Task Force, made the announcement at a forum late Thursday, where members of the community voiced concerns about the landfill. Kelly said he expects the sampling to occur within the next 90 days in the western part of the site, a portion that agency officials often refer to as “Operating Unit 2.”

The announcement came as good news to area residents, who have long worried that that contamination has damaged their health.
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A Footnote Worth Noting, 09/05/2017

Stormwater runoff from West Lake Landfill, April 30, 2017. (Photo by Robbin Ellison Dailey)

STL Reporter

Factoring in punctuation marks and MDNR’s double-talk changes the equation of the latest findings at the radioactively-contaminated West Lake Landfill site. 

In many ways, the test results released by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources last month are as unclear as the turbid stormwater the agency collected from the drainage ditches outside the perimeter the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site earlier this year.

Equally perplexing is the press release that accompanies the findings, which concludes that radioactive materials present in the sampling are not even from the West Lake Landfill. Moreover, the analysis is an of interpretation of data that itself is admittedly flawed, according to a footnote that explains two asterisks that appear in the listed test results.
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