ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - About 200 North County residents squared off against EPA officials Thursday night over tons of illegally dumped radioactive material that is sitting on a flood plain.
The West Lake landfill in Earth City near Bridgeton is filled with 8,700 tons of decaying uranium, thorium, and radium waste from the Manhattan project used to make the first atomic bombs.
EPA officials said recent testing found high levels of radium at 25 of 75 wells tested. But officials stressed there was no threat to ground water or public health. EPA Project Manager Dan Gravatt said, "Right now those areas are fenced off. People aren't allowed on them and because people aren't drinking the ground water there are no exposure pathways for people."
Geo-chemists like Bob Criss of Washington University reacted with disgust saying, "I don't accept your science, I don't accept the data. Why did you pay those responsible for the clean-up to do the report? It's like having students grade their own tests."
The EPA wants to put a cover on the landfill and leave the radioactive material at West Lake. Residents want it dug up and moved away from water and people.
The federal government has been working to figure out how to deal with the radioactive material at this location for more than two decades. The EPA said Thursday night, further testing and evaluation was needed.