Category Archives: National News

UPDATE: Residents frustrated by EPA’s isolation barrier plan for West Lake Landfill, 01/11/2016

WasteDive.com
by Arlene Karidis

UPDATE: Despite plans to build an underground barrier between Bridgeton Landfill and West Lake Landfill, residents have reported to be frustrated and claim the fire-prevention efforts are not enough, according to International Business Times and Al Jazeera.

“It’s looking more and more like removal is the only way to guarantee [a safe solution],” said local resident Dawn Chapman to Al Jazeera. “Life’s over for [people] in this community. They can’t live where they are. They can’t enjoy it.”

Ed Smith, representative of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, agreed with Chapman, stating, “The only way to guarantee the radioactive content will never come in contact with the subsurface fire in the future is to remove the radioactive material … We’ve watched the EPA work on the barrier plan now for almost two years whereas they could have been planning for the removal of the radioactive waste.” Continue reading UPDATE: Residents frustrated by EPA’s isolation barrier plan for West Lake Landfill, 01/11/2016

St. Louis anxious about EPA plan for barrier between fire, toxic waste, 01/08/2016

Aljazeera America.com
by Ryan Schuessler

Statement on barrier between underground fire and radioactive waste comes after study shows contamination is spreading

Those living near a landfill complex in suburban St. Louis where an underground fire is burning near Cold War-era nuclear weapons waste say they remain afraid and frustrated despite a government pledge to build a barrier between the two.

In the past, tests have found radioactive materials in the complex that were previously unknown to regulators, raising fears that the extent of the contamination — in terms of severity and location — remains unclear. Maintaining that its data is sound, the EPA, which has regulatory oversight over the West Lake Landfill, announced on Dec. 31 that it is moving forward with a plan to build an isolation barrier between the fire and known waste, but many residents and environmentalists are worried that is too little too late. Continue reading St. Louis anxious about EPA plan for barrier between fire, toxic waste, 01/08/2016

Study Finds Radioactive Waste at St. Louis-Area Landfill Has Migrated Off-Site, 01/02/2016

NASDAQ.com
Dow Jones Business News
by John R. Emshwiller and Gary Fields

Shutterstock photo

Radioactive contamination from a St. Louis-area landfill containing nuclear-weapons-related waste likely has migrated off-site, according to a study published this week in a scientific journal.

One of the authors of the private, peer-reviewed study, which appeared Tuesday in the Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, said he doesn’t see any immediate health risks posed by the contamination that appears to be seeping from the West Lake landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.

West Lake’s owner, Republic Services Inc., as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have said their radiation sampling hasn’t shown evidence of the site posing a threat to the public. A Republic spokesman deferred any comment on the study–which was funded a by St. Louis-area activist, Kay Drey, who has been critical of keeping the radioactive waste at West Lake–to the EPA. Continue reading Study Finds Radioactive Waste at St. Louis-Area Landfill Has Migrated Off-Site, 01/02/2016

EPA orders barrier installed to protect nuclear waste from underground fire near St. Louis, 01/02/2016

Los Angeles Times
by Associated Press

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the installation of an isolation barrier to make sure that an underground fire does not reach buried nuclear waste at a suburban St. Louis landfill.

Mark Hague, EPA regional administrator, who announced the move Thursday, said the plan for West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton also calls for additional engineering steps, such as cooling loops. The barrier will consist of an underground wall.

Nuclear waste dating to the Manhattan Project was dumped at West Lake in 1973. An underground fire has been smoldering for years and is now within 1,200 feet. Continue reading EPA orders barrier installed to protect nuclear waste from underground fire near St. Louis, 01/02/2016

The Looming Environmental Disaster in Missouri that Nobody is Talking About, 01/02/2016

AntiMedia.org
Claire Bernish

(ANTIMEDIA) St. Louis, MO — What happens when radioactive byproduct from the Manhattan Project comes into contact with an “underground fire” at a landfill? Surprisingly, no one actually knows for sure; but residents of Bridgeton, Missouri, near the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills — just northwest of the St. Louis International Airport — may find out sooner than they’d like.

And that conundrum isn’t the only issue for the area. Contradicting reports from both the government and the landfill’s responsible parties, radioactive contamination is actively leaching into the surrounding populated area from the West Lake site — and likely has been for the past 42 years.

In order to grasp this startling confluence of circumstances, it’s important to understand the history of these sites. Pertinent information either hasn’t been forthcoming or is muddied by disputes among the various government agencies and companies that should be held accountable for keeping area residents safe. Continue reading The Looming Environmental Disaster in Missouri that Nobody is Talking About, 01/02/2016

Your Radiation This Week No 34, 12/12/2015

Veterans Today
 by Bob Nichols

St Louis Arch in Winter - National Park ServiceSt. Louis and the Rad Problem

St. Louis, now and forever more, will be remembered as a Manhattan Project nuclear garbage dump. It was for the most poisonous, flammable elements in the universe that just happen to also be radioactive. What will happen to the pieces of the rocks that incinerated Hiroshima, Japan and turned former people into mere shadows on the concrete? Nagasaki was blown away by Plutonium, manufactured by all reactors.

What is going on at the St. Louis City/Federal Nuclear garbage dump is the two have more or less run together 100 to 200 feet below the ground. This is out by the Airport in a poor section of town in a flood plain. As garbage dumps frequently do, it caught on fire. Now that is not very unusual, however hundreds of tons, if not thousands of tons of highly radioactive, flammable rocks mixed with or next to the garbage dump is not solvable in this lifetime; or ever. There is no fix.
Continue reading Your Radiation This Week No 34, 12/12/2015

EPA orders fire prevention steps for troubled St. Louis landfill, 12/10/2015

cbsnews.com
AP

ST. LOUIS — The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday ordered surface fire prevention measures at a St. Louis-area landfill where nuclear waste was illegally dumped four decades ago.

The order by EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague requires companies associated with West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton to come up with a plan within three weeks to remove trees and brush, place non-combustible material on the surface, and take other steps to prevent future fires.

A faulty utility pole was blamed for an Oct. 24 fire that ignited brush on the landfill’s grounds. Hague said the EPA found no evidence the fire created any hazard for nearby homes or businesses. Continue reading EPA orders fire prevention steps for troubled St. Louis landfill, 12/10/2015

Lawmakers Want Corps, Not EPA, to Remediate Landfill, 11/19/2015

Associated Press
by Jim Salter

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Four members of Missouri’s congressional delegation on Thursday called for the Army Corps of Engineers to take over remediation of the West Lake Landfill site in St. Louis County, saying the Environmental Protection Agency is moving too slowly in addressing concerns about nuclear contamination.

Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill and Reps. Ann Wagner and William Lacy Clay introduced legislation to transfer remediation authority and put the site in the Corps’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. Blunt and Wagner are Republicans; McCaskill and Clay are Democrats.

Residents who live near West Lake have grown frustrated with delays in remediating the site. Transferring cleanup oversight to the Corps “will help move the process forward and finally give these families the peace of mind they deserve,” Blunt said in a statement. Continue reading Lawmakers Want Corps, Not EPA, to Remediate Landfill, 11/19/2015

Officials squabble as underground fire burns near radioactive waste dump in St. Louis area, 10/20/2015

L.A. Times.com
by Matt Pearce

Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
The Bridgeton landfill in Missouri, pictured in 2014, is smoldering beneath its surface. (Jacob Barker / St. Louis Post-Dispatch / Associated Press)

A fire is smoldering beneath a landfill in a densely populated suburb of St. Louis — and it has been there for five years.

Underground landfill fires, or “smoldering events” as some officials call them, aren’t rare. What makes the fire at the landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., so unusual is that it’s less than a quarter of a mile from a large deposit of nuclear waste — with no barrier in its way. Continue reading Officials squabble as underground fire burns near radioactive waste dump in St. Louis area, 10/20/2015

State of Emergency Needed in St. Louis due to Radioactive Contamination, 10/09/2015

CNN iReport
By cdavison

State of Emergency Needed in St. Louis due to Radioactive Contamination

If ever there were an issue that needed executive action from the White House, it’s the radioactive West Lake Landfill. Located in densely populated north St. Louis County, the site contains nearly 50,000 tons of highly radiotoxic, uncontained nuclear waste produced by the Manhattan Project during World War II. After 42 years, continuous finger-pointing, and an endless train of studies and reports, little has been done to clean it up. Continue reading State of Emergency Needed in St. Louis due to Radioactive Contamination, 10/09/2015

St. Louis Burning: A ticking time bomb beneath the city? 05/01/2015

Aljazeera America
by Ryan Schuessler

Nobody is really sure what is buried at the West Lake Landfill — or where

St. Louis nuclear waste West Lake landfill
Dawn Chapman recounts learning of her friend and neighbor’s daughter being diagnosed with appendix cancer —- Photo Credit: .Alexey Furman for Al Jazeera America

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — If it were any other morning after six inches of overnight snow in St. Louis, Dawn Chapman probably would have been sledding with her three kids.

But one phone call from a distressed neighbor at 6 a.m. changed that. A 21-year-old who lives nearby — their friend’s daughter — got the biopsy results from her ruptured appendix. The tests confirmed everyone’s fears: appendix cancer.

Chapman lives near the West Lake Landfill, a site located in the heart of metropolitan St. Louis that increasingly appears to have a much more ominous past than many thought. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services data from 2014 has also shown increased rates of rare cancers near the site. Continue reading St. Louis Burning: A ticking time bomb beneath the city? 05/01/2015

St. Louis Burning: What killed the babies near Weldon Spring? 04/30/2015

Aljazeera America
by Ryan Schuessler

Weldon Springs nuclear waste

The grave of an infant who died in 2010 in the cemetery of Immaculate Conception Parish of Dardenne.Alexey Furman for Al Jazeera America

This is part two of a three-part series investigating the effects of radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project on St. Louis and its suburbs. Part one examined the health problems impacting those who lived near Coldwater Creek.

DARDENNE PRAIRIE, Mo. — On a Saturday afternoon in late February at the Immaculate Conception Parish of Dardenne, a fresh snow was falling on the graves of more than a dozen infant-sized tombstones. The church bells tolled, signaling the beginning of Mass as parishioners walked briskly through the cold. Continue reading St. Louis Burning: What killed the babies near Weldon Spring? 04/30/2015

St. Louis burning: America’s atomic legacy haunts city, 04/29/2015

America.Aljazeera.com
Ryan Schuessler

Dawn Chapman, right and Karen Nickel hug after learning that workers who worked on the sites in the 1970’s will speak to them about what happened at the sites.
Dawn Chapman, right and Karen Nickel hug after learning that workers who worked on the sites in the 1970s will speak to them about what happened at the sites.Alexey Furman for Al Jazeera America

County parks, homes, businesses remain open and untested after decades of exposure to potentially contaminated creek

This is part one of a three-part series examining the effects of radioactive waste from the Manhattan Project on St. Louis and its suburbs.

Karen Nickel believes she developed Lupus from exposure to the toxic materials dumped in her community.
Karen Nickel believes she developed Lupus from exposure to the toxic materials dumped in her community.Alexey Furman for Al Jazeera America

HAZELWOOD, Mo. — Karen Nickel had never even heard of lupus before she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease six years ago.

Today she says she takes as many as 18 pills a day — “and that’s just to make me feel OK.” Continue reading St. Louis burning: America’s atomic legacy haunts city, 04/29/2015

Radioactive Waste in St. Louis at Risk From Smoldering Trash, 07/24/2014

The Wall Street Journal
by John R. Emshwiller

Updated July 24, 2014 1:19 p.m. ET

NA-CA329_WESTLA_G_20140309183516

Dawn Chapman, left, and Karen Nickel visit the West Lake landfill March 5. Ms. Chapman and Ms. Nickel are part of a watchdog group of residents concerned about the radioactive sites and the fire smoldering beneath the landfill. Sarah Conard for The Wall Street Journal

ST. LOUIS—Pressure is mounting to deal with the legacy of radioactive contamination and possible damage to human health caused by work done in this region for the U.S. nuclear-weapons program.

A state environmental consultant recently warned that a “subsurface smoldering event,” caused by garbage heating up underground, might be heading toward a section of the West Lake landfill, where thousands of tons of radioactive garbage is buried. The landfill’s owner strongly disagreed with the consultant’s findings.
Continue reading Radioactive Waste in St. Louis at Risk From Smoldering Trash, 07/24/2014

EPA: Baseball fields near Superfund site are safe, 05/01/2014

The Washington Times
by Jim Salter, The Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) – The Environmental Protection Agency says there is no evidence of radiological contamination on the fields of a baseball complex near a suburban St. Louis Superfund site, despite private testing that raised enough concern to cause a youth tournament to relocate.

The Cinco de Mayor Slugfest tournament, with 95 teams, was scheduled for this weekend at Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex. Organizers relocated to neighboring towns after Bridgeton residents organized radiation testing that indicated a high amount of gamma radiation in soil near the ballparks.

The baseball complex is near West Lake Landfill. Nuclear waste is buried there near the adjoining Bridgeton Landfill, where underground smoldering has caused a strong odor for several months. The landfill operators are spending millions of dollars to reduce the odor and to build in safeguards to keep the underground fire away from the nuclear waste.
Continue reading EPA: Baseball fields near Superfund site are safe, 05/01/2014

Neighbors Fume at Radioactive Dump, 12/29/2013

The Wall Street Journal
by John R. Emshwiller

Legacy of Atomic-Era Weapons Work in St. Louis Suburb Stirs Worries About Health, Environment

Efforts were under way in May to cut odors from a Bridgeton, Mo., landfill.
Efforts were under way in May to cut odors from a Bridgeton, Mo., landfill. ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH/ASSOCIATED PRESS

BRIDGETON, Mo.—A dispute is smoldering here, in one sense quite literally, over what to do with thousands of tons of radioactive waste in a landfill in this suburban St. Louis town.

Some residents argue the waste, created decades ago by the U.S. nuclear-weapons program and other federal work, poses a health and environmental threat and should be removed. The landfill’s owner disputes that and says the best course is to leave the waste in place with some beefed-up protections. The Environmental Protection Agency has favored the second option but is reconsidering in reaction to community opposition.
Continue reading Neighbors Fume at Radioactive Dump, 12/29/2013

St. Louis Is Burning, 05/10/2013

A bulldozer pushes trash in a landfill.
A bulldozer pushes trash in a landfill. Sam Hodgson/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rolling Stone
by Steven Hsieh

An underground landfill fire near tons of nuclear waste raises serious health and safety concernsso why isn’t the government doing more to help?

There’s a fire burning in Bridgeton, Missouri. It’s invisible to area residents, buried deep beneath the ground in a North St. Louis County landfill. But the smoldering waste is an unavoidable presence in town, giving off a putrid odor that clouds the air miles away – an overwhelming stench described by one area woman as “rotten eggs mixed with skunk and fertilizer.” Residents report smelling it at K-12 school buses, a TGI Fridays and even the operating room of a local hospital. “It smells like dead bodies,” observes another local. Continue reading St. Louis Is Burning, 05/10/2013

Mountain of Nuclear Waste Splits St. Louis and Suburbs, 03/24/1990

The New York Times
by Keith Schneider

ST. LOUIS— Nearly half a century after a company here began processing fuel for nuclear weapons, St. Louis and several western suburbs are battling over a new disposal plan for millions of cubic yards of dirt contaminated with uranium, thorium, radium, actinium and other radioactive elements that are polluting the water, soil and air.
Continue reading Mountain of Nuclear Waste Splits St. Louis and Suburbs, 03/24/1990