Disaster plan created for schools in case fire at Bridgeton Land - KMOV.com

Disaster plan created for schools in case fire at Bridgeton Landfill reaches nuclear waste

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Several school districts in St. Louis and St. Charles Counties are drafting emergency procedures in case a smoldering fire underneath the Bridgeton Landfill reaches nuclear waste nearby.

The district superintendent in St. Charles mailed letters out to parents, notifying them that several schools are working with emergency officials to outline a disaster plan. 

Pattonville, Francis Howell, and Orchard Farms school districts also sent similar letters warning of a worst-case scenario in the event slow-burning embers at the Bridgeton Landfill reach radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

Dawn Chapman, a West Lake Landfill activist, said the situation brewing underground may come as a surprise to some parents.

"I think those that weren't involved like I am and didn't know about it feel like they've been whacked over the head," said Chapman. "They're glad the district is prepared, but on the other side they're angry as can be."

In February 2015, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster waged a legal battle over the fire burning under the landfill, as well as the potential impact of radioactive waste nearby.

"I asked the EPA to begin tests as to what happens when the smoldering fire reaches the radiological material, they said they'd conduct those tests immediately, as of two weeks they had not begun the tests, they need to step up to the plate and answer the public's questions," said Koster.

The EPA claims there is no immediate danger. Several superintendents who sent out letters were not available to comment.

Republic Services, which owns the Bridgeton Landfill, sent News 4 the following statement:

"Reassuring parents and students is important. County officials and emergency managers have an obligation to plan for various scenarios, even very remote ones. Bridgeton Landfill, whose management team works closely with the region's first responder community, is safe and intensively monitored."

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