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After months of requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take the lead in resolving the issues surrounding two landfills in Bridgeton, it looks as though local residents will get at least part of what they've been demanding. EPA officials announced Friday that the Corps of Engineers will help construct an isolation barrier between an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill and radioactive materials in the adjacent West Lake Landfill.
Last week, Attorney General Chris Koster had urged the EPA to move quickly on the barrier.
The radioactive waste was dumped illegally in North County about 40 years ago. Environmental groups and residents have been calling for the Army Corps to take over the cleanup. Those calls became more urgent in recent months as the risk of the fire spreading became known.
After months of requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers take the lead in resolving the issues surrounding the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills, the Environmental Protection Agency says the Corps will help construct an isolation barrier between an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill and radioactive materials in the adjacent West Lake Landfill.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, EPA Region 7 administrator Karl Brooks wrote to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Friday saying he will keep Koster and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources closely informed about the status of the project.
Earlier this week, Koster urged the EPA to move quickly on the barrier. The radioactive waste is a byproduct of the Manhattan Project and was dumped in North County illegally about 40 years ago.
Environmental groups and residents have been calling for the Army Corps to take over the cleanup of the Superfund site as the Corps has worked on other nuclear waste cleanup projects in the St. Louis area.
Residents might notice a stronger stench from the Bridgeton Landfill while crews complete a repair.
A fire broke out at the landfill on Sunday because of a broken pipe. The fire sent smoke billowing into the air and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources had to be called in to test air quality.
Crews are now at work replacing a sump pump. Landfill officials say a stronger odor could be present until work is complete.
Missouri's top law enforcement official wants the owner of a St. Louis landfill to provide more details about a underground smoldering fire at the site which could threaten radioactive waste buried nearby.
On Thursday, Attorney General Chris Koster asked the St. Louis County Circuit Court to order Republic Services to provide additional monitoring data related to the Bridgeton Landfill.
Koster says the state has asked Republic Services to supply data and maps showing the concentration of carbon monoxide at various locations in an effort to track movement of the fire.
He says the company has not supplied comprehensive data for the north part of the site, nearest the nuclear material.
A spokesman says the company expects to provide additional monitoring data that it believes will validate that the site is safe.
The construction of a trench designed to keep the slow smoldering fire at the Bridgeton Landfill away from radioactive soil buried at the West Lake Landfill may have hit a snag. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that EPA testing has revealed more radioactive material at West Lake.
The paper reports that Florissant City Engineer Tim Barrett wrote about the newly discovered materials in a letter to Mayor Thomas Schneider. Barrett wrote that the EPA is expected to release a report on the new findings later this week.
Barrett also wrote that the location of the radioactive materials and the results of additional testing will determine how and where the trench will be built.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Initial testing work is about to start on a trench to help keep an underground fire at a suburban St. Louis landfill from reaching World War II-era nuclear waste buried 1,200 feet away.
Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks told The Associated Press Tuesday that initial survey work for the fire break at the Bridgeton Landfill will begin next week. Actual construction of the trench will start early next year and take several months.
The testing work was delayed more than two weeks by the federal government shutdown.
Bridgeton Landfill owner Republic Services Inc. is paying to build the dirt-filled trench aimed at keeping the smoldering away from the adjacent West Lake Landfill. EPA is supervising the work - West Lake was designated a Superfund site in 1990.
A group of north county residents want their neighbors near the West Lake Landfill to put more pressure on elected leaders to clean up the site. About 100 people attended a public meeting Thursday night hosted by the West Lake Landfill Community Group and Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
MCE's Ed Smith told the group that the current fire smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill isn't the first to threaten the radioactive site. "There was a landfill fire in the early 90s closer to the radioactive wastes than the current landfill fire," he said.
That's why the groups say plans to build a barrier between the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill and West Lake isn't enough. They want local leaders to put pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the soil, as they're doing at other radioactive waste sites.
Missouri State Representative Bill Otto was among the political leaders who attended last night's meeting. He told Fox 2 News that EPA work on the barrier project that had stopped because of the government shutdown is back on track. "They're getting back in the office," he said. "And getting ready to resume the work that they had started or were tasked to do with the landfill."
Bridgeton Landfill LLC released the following statement: "We're eager to resume work with the EPA in conjunction with state agencies to begin the next stage of the construction."
Pattonville Fire officials along with St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger and representatives from County Executive Charlie Dooley's office also attended the meeting.
Organizers are calling on residents to note odor issues and contact their local politicians to make a change.