BRIDGETON, Mo (KMOV.com) – The Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to the owner of the Bridgeton Landfill calling for a new round of tests to determine how far the underground radioactive material may have seeped beyond the area where it was always thought to be.
“I hope and pray they don’t find anything,” said Dawn Chapman, a resident in Bridgeton. “That’s the best case scenario, but you’re never going to know if you don’t look for it.”
Dawn Chapman is happy to hear about the plan for more testing. She says she and other residents have been critical of the EPA and have been calling on the organization for more than a year to do more testing.
In 2013, tests were done in preparation to dig a firebreak trench to keep the underground, smoldering garage in the Bridgeton Landfill from reaching the Manhattan Project radioactive waste buried in the West Lake Landfill. The tests came back positive for radioactive material outside the known area, but the EPA maintained it hadn’t spread beyond the landfill and said no further testing was needed.
Attorney General Chris Koster who sued Republic Services in 2013 over the foul odors and underground fire, said in a statement, “The lack of a full understanding of the extent of the radioactive material in the north quarry has, for too long, been used as an impediment to further action.”
Republic Services also issued a statement saying:
"The AG’s change in position today allows us to move forward with installation of the monitoring points we were prepared to install earlier this month under plans that had been approved by MDNR last year. We are pleased to have resolved the issues that caused the delay. We are also pleased that the AG has agreed that EPA has jurisdiction over any RIM investigation."
The Attorney General’s officer was in court Friday with attorneys for Republic Services. They reached an agreement that says there will be monitors installed in a different location to better keep track of where the underground fire is and any movement.