EPA proposes to partially remove radioactive waste at West Lake - KMOV.com

EPA proposes to partially remove radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill

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West Lake Landfill (Credit: KMOV) West Lake Landfill (Credit: KMOV)

BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOV.com) – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a proposal to partially remove the radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

“The people of the St. Louis region deserve clarity and answers with respect to the remediation of the West Lake Landfill,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “I promised them an answer, and today I am making good on that commitment. I am pleased to announce a proposed remedy that will strategically excavate and remove within five years all the radioactive material that poses a risk to public health. Along with excavation, a permanent cap will be put in place that will provide additional protection to the community over the long term. This decision demonstrates my vision for the Superfund program. Through leadership and responsiveness to communities, we will make decisions that protect public health, comply with the law, and hold potentially responsible parties accountable.”

Bridgeton Landfill, LLC issued a statement Thursday concerning West Lake Landfill:

From here, we will participate fully during the EPA's comment period, as well as engage vigorously with the EPA and the other PRPs to ensure that the final remedy performed is based on science, and is fully protective of human health, including onsite workers performing any remedy, the community, and the environment. The path to beginning implementation of the final Record of Decision (ROD) could take years.

The proposed remedy, called 'Excavation Plus,' is expected to cost $236 million and will take 5 years to implement. It includes the removal of the majority of the radioactive material and construction of an engineered cover system to protect the community in the long term. 

In early December, the landfill was on the EPA’s list of 21 toxic waste sites that require “immediate, intense action.”

"We [the community] have been waiting over a quarter of a century for a safe and permanent solution to the radioactive waste at the landfill," says Just Moms STL Co-founder Karen Nickel. "A remedy at this site was long overdue. However, partial removal is neither safe nor permanent, and there is no mention of relocation of vulnerable families with children. One thing is certain, relocation options must happen before the first shovel of dirt is removed.”

A lawsuit filed in November 2016 claimed radiation from the landfill was found in a nearby home.

Before it is finalized, the proposal to partially remove the waste is subject to a period of public comment.

Stay tuned to News 4 or KMOV.com for the latest on this developing story.

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