ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) – If the federal government won't test for radiation, some West Lake Landfill neighbors say they'll do it themselves.
Dawn Chapman and her group, Just Moms STL, plan to deploy radiation detectors in St. Louis County by the end of the week.
They hope to monitor the air for any possible high levels of radiation that they believe could be coming from the nearby West Lake Landfill, where old nuclear waste is buried.
Politicians purchased Geiger counters for these birdhouse-like stationary sensors.
Tuesday, an attorney, who is suing the landfill, gifted the group a $16,000 portable radiation detection lab called Gamma Pal. Chapman says they'll hire a certified contractor to operate it – paid for with community dollars.
Chapman says she'd rather not use the device at all. She's told the EPA she has it, and hope that will encourage the agency to start its own testing sooner than it plans.
"I would love nothing more than at the end of this week, somebody to say 'my god, this community is desperate, someone help them right now,'" she said.
The EPA said it does plan to start testing for radiation for the first time, outside West Lake's boundaries.
They say the timeline could be less than six months. The agency still insists that the site is safe.