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.

Residents are concerned that nuclear material could have spread elsewhere, partly through the process of hauling it to the dump. An attorney suing the landfill’s owners spent $16,000 on a radiation detector used for testing near the ballpark.

EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks, in a statement released late Wednesday, said the radiation found was in a drainage ditch, not on the fields. He said the Missouri Department of Natural Resources tested dust from the baseball fields in 2013.

“The results of this testing show that the area remains uncontaminated from the radiologically impacted material in West Lake Landfill and the ball fields are suitable for use,” Brooks said.

Richard Callow, spokesman for Bridgeton Landfill LLC, said, “The best scientific evidence available supports the conclusion that the radiologically impacted materials have not migrated and are not outside the site.”

But Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment said the new tests warrant further analysis.

“I think it’s still completely reasonable for off-site testing to move forward,” Smith said Thursday.

One thought on “EPA: Baseball fields near Superfund site are safe, 05/01/2014”

  1. For us..as moms…when we saw the sample and confirmed with the lab that it had an unusual spike…it was enough to send it to have more analysis done at a lab. We could have chosen to hold onto it until the lab came back.

    But for us, it was enough that we didn’t want our kids on that field until we knew and it didn’t feel right to withhold the spike from you and not give you the option to make the same decision or whatever decision you choose!!

    We spoke on the phone with EPA this morning and explained to them that these lab results will be quality assured!

    EPA feels that you should not have been given the gammapal data. That we should have sat back and watched and allowed you to take your kids to t-ball while we nervously waiting for lab results that could take weeks.

    We understand that agencies need to watch their butts, but we are moms and community members. As Moms, nothing is more important than our children, and if there is even the slightest indication that something could be wrong or unsafe for our children, WE WOULD WANT TO KNOW!!

    It’s our decision to make as a parent, but we can’t make it unless we know about it. And if there is even a 1% chance that its unsafe and we know about it, we wouldn’t take the chance!

    We felt you deserved that opportunity as well! That being said, the lab results should be back any day…and we will let you know as soon as we have them!

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