Congresswoman Cori Bush is Committed to Cleaning Up Coldwater Creek and Saving Lives

July 1, 2021 Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Cori Bush’s (MO-01) amendment to H.R. 3684 – the INVEST in America Act. The amendment would require the EPA Administrator to undertake a review of current and ongoing efforts to remediate radiological contamination at Coldwater Creek in North St. Louis County, MO and to post public signage to both prevent and mitigate exposure risks for residents in the surrounding areas. The Congresswoman worked with activists, community members, and organizations, including Just Moms STL, to introduce the amendment. Last night, the Congresswoman spoke on the House Floor in support of the legislation.


“Radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek has caused a level of devastation that would be unfathomable if it weren’t our reality,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “Our communities have seen hundreds of our neighbors sickened with rare cancers. Animals, birds, and insects have dropped dead in our neighborhoods. For decades, the Department of Energy has been too slow to protect our lives and livelihoods. Today, we’re one step closer to changing that. Through our amendment, the EPA administrator would be required to review current and ongoing efforts to remediate the radiological contamination at Coldwater Creek and post public signage to both prevent and mitigate risks for residents in our communities. We’ve waited for change in North St. Louis County for too long. There is no overstating it: if this legislation is passed by the Senate and becomes law, lives in St. Louis will be saved.”

“I have fought and waited eight years for today,” said Karen Nickel, Co-Founder, Just Moms STL. “This creek has been allowed to poison and devastate myself, friends, family and much of the St. Louis region for over half of a century. We are so grateful and thankful that our Congresswoman not only recognized what we have been saying for years but stood up and shared her own personal story and connection to the creek. 

“St. Louis is done sitting back and allowing these agencies to drag their feet while we continue to be exposed and get poisoned. Accountability starts right here and right now.”

To watch and download the Congresswoman’s remarks, click HERE.

The full text of the amendment can be found, HERE.

Dawn and Karen’s Live discussion on the Unites States House of Representatives passing of Congresswoman Cori Bush’s (MO-01) amendment to H.R. 3684 – the INVEST in America Act. 

The amendment would require the EPA Administrator to undertake a review of current and ongoing efforts to remediate radiological contamination at Coldwater Creek in North St. Louis County, MO and to post public signage to both prevent and mitigate exposure risks for residents in the surrounding areas.

The Congresswoman worked with activists, community members, and organizations, including Just Moms STL, to introduce the amendment. Last night, the Congresswoman spoke on the House Floor in support of the legislation.Congresswoman Cori Bush is Committed to Cleaning Up Coldwater Creek and Saving Lives

Link to Facebook Live Video


Congresswoman Cori Bush Public Official  · March 19, 2021

Per the CDC, 350,000 people in North St. Louis County have been exposed to radioactive waste from the contaminated Coldwater Creek. The Department of Energy knew this in the 1960s and it still hasn’t been cleaned up.

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Coldwater Creek Facts: 350,000 exposed to radioactive waste, affecting predominantly Black communities, located in North St. Louis County, Increased rates of rare cancer and death

You can’t put into words what it was like for our community to see hundreds of our neighbors get sick with a rare cancer and seeing animals and insects dropping dead. Or the fear after my basement, where my son’s room was, flooded with what was likely radioactive water.

The U.S. Department of Energy has estimated that our communities won’t be cleaned up for 20 years. They have not even put up a sign by the river that says it’s contaminated. They’re even refusing to use 100% of the funds allocated to the project. They’re pinching pennies and we’re dying. I called upon the Department of Energy to expedite the clean up of our community during an Oversight Dems hearing. We have waited long enough. Learn more here: http://stlradwastelegacy.comYou can watch my remarks here: https://youtu.be/AaqY1IFjY24?t=10988

Just Moms STL visits Civitas Associate Group to Speak on West Lake Landfill and surround issues:

Karen and I were so happy to be able to do an in person panel to a fully vaccinated Civitas Associates group. This remains one of our favorite groups to speak to and as always, they are engaged and ready to jump into action. Thank you for having us and for the amazing conversations!

The Latest Updates on West Lake Landfill Superfund Site

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 7 (IA, KS, MO, NE) 

Here’s what has happened at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site since our last update: Jamie Schwartz and Jessica Evans with EPA along with our project partners from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources oversaw the work last week.

Chris Jump with EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are overseeing work at the site this week. Operable Unit 1 work taking place: At this time, the OU-1 field work is temporarily paused while the EPA technical team is reviewing plans for drilling additional step-out borings. Drilling will resume in a few weeks after these plans are approved. Operable Unit 3 work taking place:

The OU-3 field team completed one monitoring well. A total of 17 monitoring wells have been installed. Completed wells are shown in green on the map. Groundwater and geologic characterization activities are on-going. Quarterly groundwater sampling is also taking place and will continue through May. The potentially responsible parties, with support from EPA, continue to pursue agreements with non-residential private property owners for access to install monitoring wells at off-site locations.

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West Lake Landfill Boring Updates

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Region 7 (IA, KS, MO, NE) 

Here’s what has happened at the West Lake Landfill Superfund Site since our last update:Jamie Schwartz was onsite overseeing the work last week. Tom Mahler has been overseeing the work this week.Operable Unit 1 work taking place: The locations of 23 additional borings south of the original Area 2 perimeter borings were approved by EPA February 9 and are referred to as “step-out” borings. The planned step-out locations are shown as open blue dots on the map until they are completed and then they are shown in solid blue. Ten of these borings were completed last week.Radiological scanning and sampling of the soil cores removed from each boring continues. Radiological scans are being performed inside the bore holes this week. After the scans from within the bore holes have been completed, crews are closing them in accordance with State regulations.Operable Unit 3 work taking place: Since the last update, 1 new monitoring well was completed for a total of 11 wells. Another well is nearing completion. The second round of quarterly groundwater monitoring was completed mid-week. Subsurface groundwater and geological characterization activities continue to take place.

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********Just Moms – FaceBook Live Updates******

Meeting with the new Administrator Mike Regan and Congresswoman Cori Bush about West Lake Landfill!


Just Moms meet with EPA Administrator Mike Regan and Congresswoman Cori Bush

Busy morning for us fully vaccinated girls! Met with the new EPA Administrator Mike Regan and Congresswoman Cori Bush to discuss the status of West Lake Landfill, the Superfund Program, and other sites going forward! To much good stuff to post…stand by for a Facebook live in a few minutes…Congresswoman Cori Bush,

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Funding for Downwinders

Opinion Post by Just Moms STL:

St. Louis City and County deserve to be given the status and full benefits extended to a Downwinder Community! This article doesn’t do a great job explaining the legal definition of “Downwinder” and how many states and communities have applied for or have received the status, but it does explain the need.

Dawn Chapman (Co-Founder of Just Moms STL) sent an email to our new Congresswoman Cori Bush , Senator Senator Roy Blunt, Congresswoman Ann Wagner and Senator Josh Hawley letting them know this program is set to expire next year. We need it fully funded and extended to include St. Louis City and County. And let’s not forget about Weldon Spring!

IN FOCUS Discussion: Funding for Downwinders

Just Moms STL Join in a Panel Discussion with the United Nations/United Nations Associates of Saint Louis and Civitas Associates:

Karen Nickel and I had an amazing panel discussion tonight with United Nations / United Nations Association of Saint Louis and Civitas Associates. The advocacy this commUnity has done is truly tremendous and an inspiration to so many commUnities across the Nation. We still have work to do getting this site cleaned up. Hoping for another EPA briefing in the near future so we can share more information about the extent of the radioactive waste on the site.

‘Environmental justice is racial justice’: Bush calls for environmental racism study to direct federal aid:

WOW!! Thank you Cori Bush for acknowledging the link between Environmental and Social/Racial justice!

“Our environment is just as much about the climate as it is the world that has been built around us that affects the air we breathe, the safety of our streets, the quality of our homes and the prices of our energy bills.”

0Bush said the national study would also examine impacts of radioactive waste left over from uranium production that was [buried in the West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton](, and also along sections of Coldwater Creek, which runs from St. Ann to the Missouri River. https://www.stltoday.com/…/article_74622ac9-8120-5b10…

Thursday, February 20, 2020 – Just Moms; Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman did a FaceBook live. You can re-watch it via the link below.


To Report an Odor: http://REPORT AN ODOR: http://dnr.mo.gov/bridgeton/concern.htm

Atomic Homefront Documentary is now available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duEMr4VbqbM

Donating to Just Moms STL

For those that have reached out about how to donate to Just Moms. Here is the link to our Paypal account.

You can also send you donation by snail mail which I have included here as well. We soooo appreciate any donation amount, and are forever grateful.

Snail Mail….Just Moms STLP.O Box 1761Maryland Heights MO 63043



Reflecting 2019….READY for 2020!!!

Dawn Chapman and I would like to wish everyone a Happy and safe New Year!

Personally, Dawn and I both have had a very rough 2019. From the loss of several loved ones, to chronic illnesses with our children, it has been a struggle. To say we are both ready for 2020 is an understatement.

TO RECAP just a few things from 2019….

We spent hours in middle schools, high schools, community colleges and universities educating. We went to DC to discuss our concerns about communication within the Superfund process, as well as getting reassurance that things were definitely moving in the right direction for our clean up at West Lake.

Had an in person meeting with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

We were recognized for our hard work with a beautiful award from North County Inc. Dawn was inducted to her high schools Alumni Hall of Fame.

Just Moms hosted our first blood drive with Mississippi Regional Blood Center, with a great turnout. Hoping we can do this again in 2020. What an amazing way to give to our very sick community.

We took a Mental Health First Aid class and became Certified Mental Health First Aids.

We connected with several of the Mental Health Organizations that were awarded grant funds from the Bridgeton Landfill Settlement. THAT was an eye opening experience.

OUR GOALS for 2020…

Continue our push for a viable relocation plan for those living on top of the landfill.

Getting a firm date for when the first shovel will hit the ground for cleanup.

Keeping our First Responders in the loop, so they have all the important information they need at all times.

Continue to strengthen our communications with local, state and federal agencies.

To continue to hold agencies and corporations responsible and make sure they respect and do not bully this community. WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH OF THAT!

Growing our community meetings attendance. This will be the year you all really need to get to these meetings as we get closer to clean up.

Getting the ODOR issues addressed!… AGAIN!!!

Continue our presentations in the schools and Universities

Continue educating and updating our elected officials and candidates.

Surviving 2020 politics. This will mean attending a lot of political events.

Getting people to utilize the Mental Health Organizations that are out there for those in our community that are in need.

Finalizing our 5013c status

Fundraising and grant writing. We so desperately need HELP

Thank you all who have made donations, supported and sent us well wishes in 2019! Wishing all of you a safe, and healthy 2020.

EPA Update on the West Lake Landfill
Bridgeton, MO

(Including the draft OU-3 Health and Safety Plan)

Announcements and Key Topics

The EPA has recently completed review and submitted comments on several more draft documents associated with OU-1 and OU-3 of the West Lake Landfill Site.

The EPA’s comment letter on the draft OU-1 Remedial Design Workplan and draft OU-1 Design Criteria Report have been posted below in the featured documents section.

The EPA has also posted the OU-3 comment letter on the draft Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Workplan for Site-wide Groundwater, and the associated draft RI/FS Field Sampling Plandraft RI/FS Quality Assurance Procect Plan (QAPP), and the draft OU-3 Health and Safety Plan in the featured documents section below.



EPA Region 7 West Lake Update August 6, 2019



Replay of Just Moms STL Live Stream –  July 30, 2019


What a morning!!!!!. Just Moms STL met with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and others today……in the 7 years Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel have been working on this issue, this has to have been the best meeting yet!





We will *NOT* have a Just Moms STL Community Meeting tomorrow, July 18th.

Instead, we are co-hosting a meeting with EPA Region 7 on July 25th (details below). EPA will present updates/current status of the proposed cleanup plan.

We’ll see you all then.



Below is the link to the blood drive we are hosting.

We have heard from so many that are interested in giving blood, and now you can officially sign up on this link or call the number listed to reserve your spot. This is going to be such a special event for our community. 

There will also be FREE FOOD!

Please SHARE SHARE SHARE!!! Here is the live link to sign up! https://www.bloodcenterimpact.org/…/sc…/drive_schedule/84861

1. A safe and permanent solution for the radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill.
2. Property Assurance Plan for a 2-mile radius around the landfill for the duration of the underground fire.
3. Raise awareness, thus creating an educated majority that can make informed, honest decisions based on what is best for the individual and/or their families.


Courtesy of Lindsay Toler, St. Louis Public Radio


This is our first major fundraising campaign.


 No matter what, if you give or cannot at this time, PLEASE PLEASE SHARE this link https://www.givestlday.org/justmomsstl on your personal Facebook page, your twitter or any other social media platforms you do.   You can also share it in an email to all your friends and family, and ask them to do the same. 

We are counting on a successful campaign to sustain the work Just Moms STL does. We are also so very grateful for each and every supporter we have and any donations large or small! It means the world to Dawn Chapman and myself!

Thank You!

Karen Nickel

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EPA Reaches Cleanup Decision for Radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund Site!

Signing of the Record of Decision to Clean up West Lake Landfill




5 On Your Side
by Grant Bissell

West Lake Landfill Excavation Update

West Lake Landfill: EPA proposal is latest chapter in long, troubled history

EPA Proposed Remedy & 75 Day Comment Period

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has announced the proposed final remedy for West Lake Landfill. The proposal, Excavation Plus (Alternative 4), calls for the removal of 67 percent of the radioactive waste to a maximum depth of 16 feet, the installation of an engineered cap to cover the remaining wastes, institutional controls, and monitoring. As with all proposed remedies, there is a 75-day public comment period from February 6 through April 23, 2018.  During this time, we will have the opportunity to provide our questions, concerns, and wishes to the EPA regarding the proposed remedy.   We have compiled a short list of topics we encourage everyone to consider when submitting your written comments.

  1. Relocation — It is always important to remember the entire landfill is one Superfund site. This includes the area that is currently experiencing the underground fire. The chemicals being released and the constant uncertainty of danger is reason enough to permanently relocate those living within a one-mile radius surrounding the landfill complex.

    Relocation is a top priority for Just Moms STL. We will continue to fight for and fully support a voluntary relocation plan.

  2. Disposal/Storage — EPA wants our input as to whether the removed waste should be stored on or offsite. If onsite,  the structure could be similar to Weldon Springs in St. Charles; off-site will remove and transport to a licensed nuclear facility just the same as the radioactive waste around Coldwater Creek.

    Just Moms STL supports off-site storage at an out-of-state licensed nuclear facility.

  3.  Depth of Excavation — Currently EPA says they will excavate to a maximum depth of 16 feet. We know there is radiation much deeper within the complex. Typically, no site receives 100% removal as agencies such as EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers FUSRAP remove wastes to certain allowable levels and, for varied reasons, there are always areas they deem inaccessible. However, the depth of excavation and percentage of radiation removed can increase from 67% as the public comment period, design, and implementation phases proceed.

    Just Moms STL would like to see the percentage of removal increase to the highest possible amount. Thus, resulting in the safest, most permanent solution.

We are now in the negotiation phase and EPA wants to give us a seat at this table. We encourage everyone to participate as this is the only opportunity the public has to ensure our voices are heard.

Click HERE for more detailed info on the Public Comment Period.

Sign up HERE for the Just Moms Newsletter
to say informed.


Final Facts Flyer

Confused about Bridgeton, West Lake landfills? Here’s what you should know.

West Lake Landfill: EPA proposal is latest chapter in long, troubled history


EPA: Superfund Records Collections

UPDATE from EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, 02/01/2018


ALL IMPORTANT**** Attached is a link of a clip from an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on 12/07/2017 where Administrator Scott Pruitt brings up “West Lake Landfill” during his testimony!  (Thank you Congresswoman Ann Wagner for bringing this to our attention)

In this video, Administrator Pruitt commits to announcing a decision on West Lake in January 2018.  He mentions he is looking at proposals this month to make that decision! This would indicate that a decision has NOT been made YET…..While we are anxiously and cautiously optimistic about this decision, we must have a GOOD decision and not a decision just because it has been a long time coming.  

Listening Session
West Lake/Bridgeton Community
to the Federal EPA

October 19, 2017

West Lake Landfill Protest

What on Earth is Going on at  West Lake Landfill?

When odors from the neighboring Bridgeton Landfill became so intense, residents began making calls. What they unearthed was shocking! They learned that the adjacent West Lake Landfill houses massive amounts of illegally dumped nuclear weapons waste from the Manhattan Project, the U.S. – the secret U.S. military program created in 1942 to develop the atomic bomb.

West Lake Landfill contains some of the world’s most toxic radionuclides, harmful in even microscopic amounts. These include Thorium-230, Radium-223, Uranium-235, Protactinium-231, Actinium-227, and Lead-210, some that will remain active for hundreds to thousands of years!


“The West Lake Landfill: A Radioactive Legacy of the Nuclear Arms Race”, by Robert Alvarez (page 4)

West Lake Landfill is not designed to safely house nuclear waste. It is unlined, in a floodplain, vulnerable to tornadoes and earthquakes, susceptible to fires, and close to heavily populated areas.  The radioactive wastes are located on the surface of the landfill, not buried deep.  The radioactive particles can migrate offsite via dust, smoke in the event of a surface fire, and through groundwater run-off.  The landfill sits precariously just 1-1/2 miles from the Missouri River which eventually dumps into the Mississippi River.

Diagram of West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills



click to enlarge


And to make matters worse, there is currently a huge subsurface smoldering fire in the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill that is moving towards the nuclear waste in the West Lake Landfill!  Never before has there been a situation like this. Experts are unsure what exactly will happen when the fire reaches the nuclear waste. Some predict a catastrophic event with the fire reaching the nuclear waste and producing smoke laced with nuclear particles that could spread across the region.

Watch this video to better understand the gravity of the situation at West Lake Landfill.

Vexed Reactions To Republic Services Handling of West Lake Landfill
Vexed Reactions To Republic Services Handling of West Lake Landfill





Even though West Lake Landfill was put on the National Priorities List and designated as a Superfund site on August 30, 1990 under the supervision of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nothing yet has been done  to remedy the situation. The best chance of cleanup would be by Congress voting to turn the responsibility of West Lake Landfill’s nuclear weapons waste over the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ FUSRAP program.


Attorney General Chris Koster
Photo Courtesy of Laurie Skrivan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri Attorney General, Chris Koster, filed a lawsuit against Republic Services in March 2013 based on violations of eight Missouri environmental laws. It sought orders requiring it to extinguish the smoldering fire deep within the landfill and take action to control odors, emissions and hazardous liquid releases caused by the fire. A St. Louis Post-Dispatch article reports that, “Koster’s office says that Pelopidas, which Republic Services says it used to manage public relations,

“has ‘admissions’ by Republic employees or contractors that the smoldering fire “will indeed reach the radiologically impacted materials at one or both of the landfills.”

Courtesy of Cracked.com, October 20, 2015


Courtesy of Cracked.com

Homeowners and business owners feel betrayed that they were not made aware of this situation by government and city officials, or by the landfill owners – Republic Services. Their health is in jeopardy and their property values are at risk. And the uncertainty of it all is exhausting. The release of an Emergency Evacuation Plan by St. Louis County created even more anxiety among area residents and workers.

Perhaps Steve Johnson of Teamsters Local 688 in St. Louis, expresses it best:

“We demand that Republic Services and its biggest shareholder, billionaire Bill Gates, be held accountable. Instead of paying lobbyists to keep us trapped, we ask that Republic Services become part of the solution. We demand that our government put its full weight behind our communities—its constituents—and ask that the United Nations monitor a successful resolution to this environmental and social crisis.”

Please join Just Moms STL in our mission to obtain a “safe and permanent solution” for this serious issue. Read through the pages on this site to learn more. Visit the How to Help pages. This truly affects us all.

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Radioactive  EPA Announces Radioactive Material Has Been Found in Unexpected Places at the Landfill
ABC News
by The Associated Press
March 24, 2016



St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 4, 2016
“Koster’s office says that Pelopidas, which Republic Services says it used to manage public relations, has “admissions” by Republic employees or contractors that the smoldering firewill indeed reach the radiologically impacted materials at one or both of the landfills.”


Legislation banner

February 02, 2016
Legislation:  S.2306

step-twoA companion bill was introduced by Congressman Lacy Clay and Congresswoman Ann Wagner on November 19, 2015.
It “died in a previous Congress“.
Legislation: H.R.4100 – To require the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, to undertake remediation oversight of the West Lake Landfill located in Bridgeton, Missouri.