Koster asks for more EPA testing at Westlake Landfill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KSDK) – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced Tuesday that he has asked the Environmental Protection Agency to test for radioactive material in the community surrounding West Lake Landfill and filed a motion for the court to take an impending lawsuit against the landfill's owners to trial.

The testing, according to a news release, will focus specifically on the route used during the 1970s to bring radioactive material from the Latty Avenue storage facility to Westlake.

This route has never been tested before.

"We commend Attorney General Chris Koster's leadership by calling on EPA Region 7 to conduct offsite testing near the radioactive West Lake Landfill," said Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment said in a news release. "People around the landfill have been asking EPA Region 7 to do this for a long time and hopefully Attorney General Chris Koster's letter will help make it happen."

You can read Koster's motions below:

Here's the EPA's response:

On April 29, I received a letter from Missouri Attorney General Koster suggesting that EPA conduct off-site soil sampling for radiological material associated with the leached barium sulfate waste buried at West Lake landfill. EPA appreciates the Attorney General's recommendation.

One concern in the Attorney General's letter references haul routes that were used to bring the radiological material to West Lake landfill. It is important to note that soil sampling has already been conducted along the haul route from the Hazelwood Interim Storage Site (HISS) to West Lake landfill. This testing was conducted by the St. Louis U.S. Army Corps of Engineers FUSRAP in support of their 2005 Record of Decision (ROD) for the North St. Louis County sites. A total of 231 samples were collected and analyzed by FUSRAP for Radium-226, Thorium-230, Thorium-232, and Uranium-238. None of the samples collected exhibited radionuclide concentrations exceeding the proposed surface and subsurface soil remediation goals identified in that Record of Decision.

Region 7 last Friday received information from Dawn Chapman, a Bridgeton resident, which suggested a potential radiation detection off-site at the Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex. The individuals collected the soil from a drainage ditch and not from the ball fields. Usefulness of the information provided by Ms. Chapman is limited due to the lack of a quality assurance/quality control plan that was used during the collection and testing of the soil.

Radiation occurs naturally in our environment and is found in granite countertops, canary glass and other antiques like watches, which in most cases do not pose harmful exposure risks. For more details see: http://www.epa.gov/radtown/index.html.

EPA is carefully reviewing the information provided by Ms. Chapman. It should be emphasized that the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) conducted scientifically valid radiation dust sampling near the ball fields in 2013. The results of this testing show that the area remains uncontaminated from the radiologically impacted material (RIM) located in West Lake landfill and the ball fields are suitable for use. The results of the state's sampling are available in the West Lake Landfill Radiological Survey Report, dated May 16, 2013, and available at the MDNR website at: https://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/hwp/fedfac/documents/2013-5-16-westlake-rad-survey-reportl.pdf

All validated information available to the state of Missouri and EPA indicates RIM remains confined to the site and that the site is currently protective of public health.

EPA continues to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide oversight of the development of the work plans for the responsible parties' construction of the Isolation Barrier and continues to work towards the selection of a long-term remedy for the site. As the EPA continues developing our work plans we'll assess all available data and make determinations that will address any remaining testing requirements.


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