Neighbors clash with EPA over landfill findings, 10/26/2015

Jacob Long

635815000965570069-landfill-protestBRIDGETON, Mo. – Tempers flared repeatedly Monday at a public meeting about two controversial landfills in St. Louis County.

Hundreds of concerned residents came out to get an update from officials with the Environmental Protection Agency.

But one look at the protesters by the front door made it clear early on that the federal organization was in for an earful.

“The EPA has to know that we know the truth. We know what’s in the landfills. And if they want to tell us it’s safe, I don’t think any of us can believe that,” said resident Dan McLaughlin.

The issue stems from a subsurface smoldering event at the Bridgeton Landfill.

It remains approximately 1,000 ft. away from radioactive waste that’s contaminated the nearby West Lake Landfill.

EPA District 7 Acting Administrator Mark Hague said independent government testing showed the smoldering is contained and poses no health risk.

“No one in the area is posed to any health risk from contamination at West Lake. It has not migrated off site. The groundwater is not migrating toward any of the residential areas,” he said.

Hague also downplayed peoples’ ongoing concerns that the smoldering is rapidly moving closer to the waste and could be months away from a devastating reaction.

He said, “Based on our review of data that is being collected in consultation with experts who are working with us on this from our office of research and development, we can safely say there is no imminent threat of the SSE reaching the rim at the West Lake site.”

The agency’s findings are in direct contrast to a recent report by the Missouri Attorney General that’s being used as part of litigation against the landfills’ operator, Republic Services.

The report found the smoldering event is moving closer to the radioactive contamination site and will begin leaking harmful odors into the air within weeks.

It’s left some people wondering who’s to believe and what’s really going on. They remain in fear their health and well-being is in jeopardy.

Some even question the EPA’s data, calling it outdated and incomplete.

“I have a friend who’s little kids go out to play and they have to wear masks because of the odor,” said Sue Foley.

But the agency maintains it’s committed to having a proposed permanent remedy ready for public comment by the end of 2016.

Meantime, it’s exploring temporary solutions like a barrier and/or cooling units.

“The folks around that site, the neighbors and the people of this community deserve a proposed remedy to control the contamination at West Lake site,” Hague said.




Author: stlradwastelegacy

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