EPA to test sports complex in Bridgeton

BRIDGETON, Mo. - There's uncertainty tonight in Bridgeton after a Friday afternoon announcement that the EPA will run tests on a popular baseball complex. These tests come after a citizens group had samples tested that came back with results they say aren't safe.

One man we talked to says he doesn't know what to believe. He hears from one group that there are dangerous levels of radioactive particles here, and then from the EPA that there's no problem.

"We don't feel we've gotten complete answers from everybody," said Mark Lehne. "And unfortunately the stuff we're dealing with, from what I've been reading, is stuff that's pretty detrimental to humans."

Lehne coaches his son's baseball team. They were scheduled for a Friday evening game. But until the EPA comes back with results from pending testing, he's playing it safe.

"We will stay off the field," he said.

A citizen group that had samples tested for radiation says it was found in a baseball field, a ditch and in the outside areas near the fields. They asked the city to shut it down.

"There's no credible evidence to shut anything down," said Mayor Conrad Bowers.

"Only the EPA has the scientific credibility and the technical resources available to assess the uncertainty caused by non-scientific claims, unscientific information and well-meaning but frankly untrained folks operating this donated equipment," added Dr. Karl Brooks with the EPA.

"We provided data to them, and it was quality assured," explained concerned citizen Dawn Chapman. "They have the logs. I understand if they don't want to go off of our science. That is why we asked EPA to come in."

Dr. Brooks says all the data they have says there's nothing to worry about here.

"All of that data generated by the state, as well as by the Army Corps of Engineers and its contractors has established that there's no credible scientific information that radioactive contamination from the Westlake Landfill site is present at BMAC," he said.

The concerned Bridgeton residents say they hope this testing brings some answers. But they say it's a safe bet that the baseball fields will see a few less people.

"What's a few baseball games compared to the health of your child?" Lehne said.

Jason Goodbody was an environmental engineer in the Air Force and used to live on a superfund site in Ohio. He has a child who was playing at the ball fields.

"We've got kids running around on the field with dirt bringing it up into their fingernails touching their skin their mouth so they could ingest that. I absolutely have some concerns about whether or not my child plays here," said Goodbody.

He went on to say, "We would expect the state to shut things down until they can let us now that we are at safe levels.

That testing is supposed to happen the week of May 19. It should only take a week, but that could change.


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