EPA Testing for Radioactive Waste at Bridgeton, MO Landfill

Bridgeton LandfillAs a follow up to a story we covered in 2014 about the Coldwater Creek Cancer Cluster, this article contains information concerning recent news about the EPA’s stance on the Bridgeton Landfill.

The EPA wants to run tests at the site to map out any contamination from radioactivity.  This goes back on the EPA’s previous statement, where they stated that the area in question was adjacent to the West Lake Landfill and was fenced in.

Radioactive Contamination

Reports have shown that radioactive contamination has recently been detected beyond the boundaries of the West Lake Landfill.  This activity stems from the illegal dumping of uranium processing from over 40 years ago.

The EPA made a letter public on January 15, 2015 asking the parties that are responsible for the site to come up with a testing plan to map out the radioactive waste in the Bridgeton Landfill’s north section.  The request was made after looking over the routes mapped between the Bridgeton Landfill and the West Lake Landfill.  Republic Services has been in charge of activity at the landfills because they own the site.  However, liability also lies with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Exelon Corporation for clean-up.

The EPA wants to find out if some of the radioactive waste was carried to the Bridgeton site by runoff from when it was illegally dumped in West Lake.  They also want to gather samples and test them in underground fire conditions like the ones in the Bridgeton Landfill.  A group of neighbors who have been criticizing the EPA are hopeful that this will lead to better things coming from the EPA in the future.

EPA Reports Should Encourage Progress

Chris Koster, Missouri Attorney General, was happy with the EPA’s decision.  He has stated that he knows that the radioactive waste extends past the boundary of the West Lake Landfill.  He says that up until this point, the lack of understanding regarding the extent of the material that has gotten into the north section has been used as tool to impede further activity.

Mr. Koster has asked for a court to order that samples be taken and tested for radioactivity in the Bridgeton Landfill’s north section.  Attorneys for Republic Services argued that the radioactive waste was under the jurisdiction of the EPA.  Republic said that the letter issued by the EPA has backed up their belief that the EPA has jurisdiction in this matter.

Cold Weather Concerns

The potential for increased odor from the Bridgeton Landfill has grown since the cold weather has hit.  Residents have complained of smells that are connected to the underground fire.  These odors were first noticed around five years ago and tend to get worse when the weather turns cold.

Filters that were installed by Republic Services were only partially effective at curbing the smell.  The filters were installed in August 2014 and shut down in October 2014.  They worked to reduce the emission of hydrogen sulfide, but did lower the emissions of some other sulfur gases that caused caustic odors.  Since the filters alone can’t do the job, various technologies are being studied to find a more effective way to contain the smell.

If you or someone you know has had a serious diagnosis that you suspect may be related to wrongful exposure to radioactive waste, 

CONTACT The Lieser Law Firm for a FREE legal consultation.