West Lake protesters warn of 'hidden dangers'

↓ Advertisement ↓

ST. LOUIS COUNTY - Protesters hit the streets of North St. Louis County again Sunday, but this time the demonstrations had to do with the World War Two-era nuclear waste buried at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton.

The waste site sits adjacent to an underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill.

Protesters said they wanted to educate people about what they call a hidden danger that could impact the entire region.

"This is an issue of health and safety. If we can go into Iran and worry about the nuclear weapons they have there we need to worry about the nuclear waste we have here," Missouri House or Representatives 72nd District candidate, Paul Berry III said.

↓ Advertisement ↓

Arizona-based republic services owns the landfill. The company says the fire is not moving toward the waste, but Sunday's protesters are concerned the situation could change.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversees the landfill and has said the risk is unclear if the fire and the waste meet.

"We need some action. We're trying to get attention because there's a lot of people around here that don't even know what's going on at West Lake. So we're trying to spread the word," Kathy Bell, who lives in the Spanish Village neighborhood next to the landfill complex said.

Both and the EPA and Republic Services have been consistent targets of the protesters demonstrations.

"Republic is a huge company with assets. They could easily buyout everyone around here if they decided to do so. They're avoiding responsibility, they're risking our health and our lives and EPA is pretty much helpless," demonstrator Donna Klocke said.

Richard Callow, a Republic Services spokesman, responded with an emailed statement that reads:

"It is hard to imagine a site with more comprehensive monitoring and expert management. One thing on which federal and state officials can agree is that the site is safe and presents no risk to anyone at or in the vicinity of Bridgeton Landfill."

No one from the EPA was available for comment.

Anyone interested in learning more about the West Lake Landfill is invited to come to open community meetings with EPA representatives. The next meeting will be December 8, at the International Union of Operating Engineers AFL-CIO Local 513 at: 3449 Hollenberg Dr. in Bridgeton, Mo.