Emergency plan unveiled for Bridgeton landfill

If the county's emergency plan were ever needed the Pattonville Fire Department would likely be the first agency to respond to the landfill site.

ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - Evacuations, people sheltering in their basements and a radioactive plume spreading over parts of St. Louis and St. Charles Counties. All part of a worst case scenario that officials hope will never happen but now say they are planning for it.

This is the latest development concerning the underground "smoldering event" near radioactive waste at landfill in Bridgeton.

As scary as the scenarios in this plan are for some, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger says the plan is more than a year old, ever changing and no cause for alarm. In fact, he hopes it puts people at ease.

But those living near nuclear waste say that will take more than an official document.

"We havethe responsibility to be prepared for any possibility," says Stenger who emphasizes this plan is not an indication the situation in Bridgeton is getting worse.

Russ Knocke with the Bridgeton Landfill says through an emailed statement, "County officials and emergency managers have an obligation to plan for various scenarios, even very remote ones. Bridgeton Landfill, whose management team works closely with the region's first responder community, is safe and intensively monitored."

"Every time they say it's the most well monitored site it scares me even more," says Dawn Chapman with Just Moms STL a group she helped start almost three years ago to bring attention to the possible public hazard of having nuclear waste and an underground burn so close together.

"The most well monitored patients in a hospital are those in critical condition," said Chapman.

If the county's emergency plan were ever needed the Pattonville Fire Department would likely be the first agency to respond to the landfill site. Assistant Fire Chief Matt LaVanchy says his department contributed to the plan and he is confident in it. But, he says it's not enough. There is "no information that the fire is giving off less energy," and therefore no indication the situation is improving LaVanchy said.

You can read the full St. Louis County response plan here.


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