BELLEVILLE, ILL. - It was a step toward progress, for many homeowners in one part of St. Louis County who fear their homes may be contaminated with radioactive materials.
On Thursday, the EPA announced the agency is developing plans to test for radioactive contamination in homes and yards around Bridgeton, Missouri.
Those homes sit near the West Lake Landfill, where World-War-II-era nuclear waste is buried.
New efforts to test those neighborhoods come after a lawsuit filed this week against the landfill and the companies that operate it.
Homeowners Michael and Robbin Dailey filed that lawsuit Tuesday. They allege the home they purchased near the landfill in 1999 is contaminated. The lawsuit alleges samples taken from the Dailey’s property — by independent scientists, not the EPA — found "highly elevated" radioactive material that matches the type stored in the landfill.
“He found radioactive contamination and he found it underneath the cabinets, around the fridge, over the basement windows, in the backyard,” Robbin Dailey said. “Pretty much, wherever he looked he found it.”
She continued, “It was always in the back of our mind that this was a possibly, but we had always hoped and prayed that this would not be the case.”
On Tuesday, the EPA first responded to the lawsuit by stating the agency “had not received any new data regarding migration off-site of radiologically impacted material (RIM) from the West Lake Landfill,” and invited anyone with scientifically valid data to send it to the EPA for review.
Dailey’s attorneys, with Hausfeld, LLP, send the EPA their findings.
On Thursday, the EPA acknowledged it received the new data, and “out of an abundance of caution” the agency requested more, and “is developing a plan for sampling of dusts and soils at the Dailey home and other areas of Bridgeton.”
“This is a good step forward, I hope it will bring about results that will give people some answers, whatever those answers are,” Dailey said.
EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague wrote a letter to a group of homeowners near the landfill, which include the Daileys, thanking them for a conversation by phone. He continued:
“I want you to know that EPA takes very seriously any public health threat due to potential environmental exposures and recognize the concern in the community about the information in the lawsuit that was filed this week on behalf of the Daileys.
As we discussed this morning, EPA has requested all available data from the Hausfeld law firm. The data will help us develop a scientifically sound plan for conducting sampling at the Dailey home and potentially other areas in Bridgeton. Ultimately we remain committed to the protection of the Bridgeton community, and keeping the lines of communication open.”