Lawsuits filed over West Lake Landfill and Coldwater Creek -

Lawsuits filed over West Lake Landfill and Coldwater Creek

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Westlake Landfill. Credit: KMOV Westlake Landfill. Credit: KMOV

Two new lawsuits were filed over Manhattan Project era contamination at West Lake Landfill and along Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County. The attorneys filing the suits are seeking class action status.

"You have a constitutional right to enjoy your home and your property and when that is violated that becomes a constitutional issue in my mind," said attorney Anthony Gray.

The first suit was filed on behalf John Kitchen, Jr., owner of North West Auto Body in the 12000 block of St. Charles Rock Road next to the Bridgeton and West Lake landfills. Attorneys said contamination was found at the business but tests have also found radioactive material tied to West Lake Landfill in a much broader area.

Bridgeton Landfill, LLC issued a response to the lawsuit:

Sound science must govern any discussion about community safety and the remediation of West Lake Landfill.  The suit is without merit and we will defend against it vigorously in court.  Federal and state regulatory agencies, including the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. EPA and the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services have all concluded, through years of study and true science, that the Landfill poses no risk to people outside the Landfill’s property. U.S. EPA also concluded that the radiologically impacted material has not migrated offsite. Any additional questions regarding the West Lake Landfill should be directed to EPA Region 7.

Attorney Ryan Keane said, "We've tested dozens of properties throughout St. Louis County and north county. There have been significant levels."

According to Keane, radioactive lead-210 and polonium-210 have been found on the property of homes and businesses. He said, as the radioactive waste in the landfill decays it gives off radon which is released into the atmosphere and as radon decays it turns into lead and polonium. 

Keane said the radioactive waste from the processing of uranium was handled in extremely reckless and careless ways which has endangered multiple homes and businesses. 

A second lawsuit was filed on behalf of Tamia Banks who lives in the 4500 block of Ashby Road in St. Ann. The suit claims tests found contamination on her property.

Keane also said that some radioactive waste which was mixed with topsoil and was supposed to be dumped at West Lake Landfill, was used instead as fill dirt for news home construction in Berkeley and Bridgeton. Keane said there was a witness who saw this happen but that person was not made available.

The defendants in the West Lake Landfill suit are, Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, Republic Services, Allied Services and Rock Road Industries. The defendants in the Coldwater Creek lawsuit are, Cotter Corporation, Commonwealth Edison Company, Exelon Generation Company, LLC, DJR Holdings inc. and the St. Louis Airport Authority.

On February 1st the EPA announce a plan to remove 70% of the material in West Lake Landfill over a 5 year period and then put a permanent cap on the landfill. 

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