Landfill cleanup slowed after more nuclear waste was found

Bridgeton, Missouri (AP) — Nuclear waste landfilled in a landfill in Missouri near an underground smolder is more extensive than originally thought, and started nearly four years ago at 205 million. This is part of the reason why the dollar super fund project was delayed. A spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency said on Friday.

The EPA announces plan In September 2018, we will remove some of the radioactive material and cap the rest at the West Lake Landfill Superfun in Bridgeton, a suburb of St. Louis. Waste is hundreds of yards from an adjacent landfill that has been dealing with underground smoldering for over a decade.

The EPA initially estimated that the project would take about four years, but has not now provided a schedule. This delay has raised concerns from neighbors and local and federal political leaders.

EPA spokesman Ben Washburn said in an email that the first timeline was “based on the best data available from site surveys” before the 2018 announcement. However, the data collected by the project “needed additional research.”

According to Washburn, the additional locations of “radiation-affected matter” are not closer to smoldering than previously known locations. He said it’s not uncommon to find additional pollution on superfund sites.

Meg McCollister, the administrator of EPA Region 7, said in a letter to US Congressman Anwagner on March 15 that he would hold a parliamentary briefing in Washington in late March or early April. Towards cleanup. “

She did not provide a new quote as to when the project would be completed.

“As you know, this is one of the most complex landfill remedies in the history of the institution,” writes McCollister.

Dawn Chapman lives two miles from the landfill and leads the activist group JustMomsSTL. She said she felt the delay was particularly alarming as the EPA had downplayed the landfill threat for years.

“Initially, they said we were crazy. They said there was nothing to worry about on this site. It wasn’t a big deal. It came out only once and the truth,” Chapman said. Please tell me. “

EPA tested in 2017 There is no radioactive contamination in the house Near the landfill.

According to Washburn, the ongoing design work at the landfill is “where and how to excavate radiation-affected materials, specifically where to bring them, and how to get there. , And the main focus is on deciding how to make a cap on what remains in the field. “

Bridgeton’s turmoil dates back to the Cold War. Weapons-grade uranium was refined at the Marin Clot Chemical Plant in St. Louis as part of the Manhattan Project, a World War II era program that produced the first nuclear weapons. Radioactive waste was illegally dumped in a landfill in Bridgeton in 1973.

Meanwhile, a smolder was found underground in the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill in 2010.The cause is unknown, but it smells Proceedings Attorney General Chris Koster filed a proceeding in 2013. The proceedings were settled in June 2018, and current and former landfill owners have agreed to pay $ 16 million.

The EPA initially wanted to cap all nuclear waste, but residents largely opposed the plan and wanted to remove it, with some of the rest announced in 2018. Prompted for plans to remove the cap.

The initial estimate for the project was $ 205 million, with the landfill owner paying for it along with the other “responsible”. This includes the US Department of Energy and Exelon Corp. in Chicago, where its subsidiary once owned the uranium processor Cotton Corp.

Chapman said the EPA should hold a public forum in Bridgeton to discuss what they have found. She plans to travel to Washington when McCollister renews the delegation of Congress.

“We deserve to sit there and hear the truth about being allowed to live next door for almost 50 years in this community,” Chapman said.