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Hazelwood officials vote to request district-wide radioactive testing

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Hazelwood district officials voted to request the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers test all of its schools.

FLORISSANT, Mo. — Tuesday evening, Hazelwood School District officials voted unanimously to request additional testing for radioactive contamination in the district.

5 On Your Side has been following several rounds of radioactive testing inside and around Jana Elementary School and Coldwater Creek, where material from WWII bombs was dumped decades ago.

There have been conflicting results reported from the independent radioactive tests.

At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Hazelwood district officials decided all of its schools should be tested due to parents across the district having concerns. School leaders say they have spent considerable funds making sure students are safe from possible radioactivity. Now, they're calling on local, state and federal leaders to join them in seeking reimbursement for those costs.

Board Member Cheryl Latham even took a moment to call out some elected leaders. 

"Everybody and their momma was here when there was a photo opp. Everybody and their mother, every single representative, every single legislator at our state and federal level sent somebody. Where are they now? Where are they now?" she asked.

Prior to Tuesday's decision, the Army Corps of Engineers told Five On Your Side "It is one of our foremost priorities to provide this community in which we live and work with accurate, reliable and scientifically sound data with which to make informed and educated decisions, especially those that concern the safety and well-being of its children."

Five On Your Side reached back out late Tuesday night to find out how the ACOE will respond to Hazelwood's request.

The ACOE did the original testing of areas around Jana Elementary and concluded the school had “low levels of radiation” in January.

Then, a separate report from private firm Boston Chemical Data Corporation found high levels of radioactivity at Jana, causing officials to close the elementary school in October.

The Army Corps came back for additional testing in November, and once again reported low levels of radiation that were no higher than "the level of radioactivity Mother Nature already provides."

Another group, SCI Engineering also reported the school was safe after testing.

Last week, 5 On Your Side learned that SCI Engineering is conducting tests at Hazelwood Central High School football field and the Family Outreach Center on Old Halls Ferry Road.

A district spokesperson told 5 On Your Side samples were taken from the two locations out of an abundance of caution, after a former employee said soil from Jana Elementary may have been used to level the ground at the football field more than 25 years ago.

The cost to test the football field is $12,902 and the Family Outreach Center is $2,800 plus $255 per soil sample analysis.


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