by Leisa Zigman
Tuesday afternoon, SSM DePaul Health Center joined a growing chorus of voices connected to the West Lake Landfill asking the EPA to step aside.Last month, Washington University geochemist Bob Criss raised the same concerns.
Here is a statement provided to News Channel 5 regarding the hospital’s position.
As the health care provider serving the community surrounding the West Lake Landfill, SSM DePaul Health Center has been intently following the continued efforts of Republic Services to contain the sub-surface smoldering event within the Bridgeton Landfill, which is adjacent to the known radioactive materials buried within the West Lake Landfill.
The radioactive materials are known to be the residues from the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works contract with the United States government to purify uranium for the production of nuclear weapons. The residue were illegally dumped at West Lake landfill in 1973 by contractors who were hired to clean up the site located at Latty Avenue in Hazelwood after the reprocessing operation had been abandoned.
The digging of an isolation barrier to ensure that the sub-smoldering event of the Bridgeton Landfill would not come into contact with the radioactive materials found within the West Lake Landfill, has brought about the alarming discovery of radioactive materials found outside of the known containment area. Which now brings forth the crucial question of where exactly the radioactive materials are in relation to the sub-surface smoldering event?
Current jurisdiction of the West Lake Landfill lies with the Environmental Protection Agency under the Superfund National Priorities List. The US Army Corps of Engineer’s Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP), is currently in St. Louis cleaning up the same radioactive materials from other sites within the area.
SSM DePaul Health Center respectfully requests the transfer of jurisdiction of the West Lake Landfill to the US Army Corps of Engineer’s Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) in order to determine the safest and most appropriate containment measures for the radioactive materials found within the West Lake Landfill and then subsequently manage such containment.
A spokesperson for Republic released the following statement:
“Had EPA’s 2008 Record of Decision not been set aside for yet more study, the West Lake landfill would be encapsulated today and the community would not be facing continuing uncertainty.”