More radioactive waste discovered at West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton

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by KMOV.com Staff | @KMOV

KMOV.com

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 10 at 9:05 PM

(KMOV) – More radioactive material has been discovered at a Bridgeton sanitary landfill that’s bothered nearby residents due to its stinky smell, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to the report, the additional radioactive material was found at the Westlake Landfill during exploratory work for construction of a cutoff trench to separate the known radioactive waste from an underground fire. Bridgeton Landfill owner Republic Services Inc. is paying to build the trench to keep a smoldering fire away from its neighboring landfill.

A report is expected about the new findings later this week.

The landfill is an EPA Superfund cleanup site, where tons of radioactive waste was dumped illegally in the 1970s. Concerns about the fire spreading to the radioactive material in November raised new concerns about what to do about the landfill.

The EPA has decided it’s safest to leave the material buried at the Westlake Landfill. But some local residents and environmentalist believe the material should be dug out and sent to an approved and safe radioactive waste landfill.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment in November brought in international nuclear weapons waste expert Robert Alvarez to do a study on the landfill and the risks it poses. His report concluded that the safer choice would be to remove the material and send it to an approved nuclear waste site.

The radioactive waste was the byproduct of uranium processing during the Cold War in 40’s and 50’s at the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works plant in St. Louis. Tests conducted by the EPA showed the radioactive material doesn’t pose a risk to neighboring businesses or residents in the area. And tests found radiation levels above the maximum contaminant level in groundwater, but only on an isolated sporadic basis. They said there were no plumes of contaminated groundwater migrating from the site.

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