EPA meeting discusses nuclear waste cleanup

The West Lake Landfill, which contains nuclear waste, is located in Bridgeton, Missouri.
Photo from Wikimedia Commons

ALEXANDRA MCKENNEY | Reporter

Local residents attended the Environmental Protection Agency meeting at Machinists’ District 9 Hall on Tuesday to discuss proposed solutions for the nuclear waste at the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton.

The Machinists’ District 9 Hall was overflowing with more than a thousand concerned residents gathered to hear what Scott Pruitt, administrator of EPA, and EPA officials propose to do to fix the nuclear waste at the Super Fund site. They also listened to other residents’ comments about how this has affected them and their families.

Julie Pinkston and Laura Schroeder sit in at the EPA Public Meeting at Machinists’ District 9 Hall at 6 p.m. Tuesday March 6, to address nuclear waste at the West Lake Landfill.
Photo by Alexandra McKenney

The EPA presented a PowerPoint featuring eight proposed plans for the nuclear waste cleanup of the landfill. EPA’s preferred plan is Plan 4. This plan would excavate at a depth of 16 feet and remove 67 percent of nuclear waste and dispose of it off site. After the EPA listed their proposed plans, they left the floor open for public comment.

Seventy residents were chosen at random and given two minutes to make a comment on their thoughts and feelings about the landfill. Many people cheered and yelled out in agreement as residents commented that they wanted this problem to be taken care of immediately.

Of those in the crowd were sisters Laura Courtois-Schroeder and Julie Pinkston. Both women raised their hands when a speaker asked “Who here has a family member that has been affected because of this landfill?”

Pinkston explained that their sister Michele had died from cancer as a direct result of radiation exposure from the nuclear waste. Pinkston said that both women grew up near Coldwater Creek and played in the water as kids.

Nuclear waste was illegally dumped 45 years ago by the Mallinckrodt Chemical Works who produced uranium for the first atomic bomb at the West Lake Landfill, near Coldwater Creek. Through groundwater the waste went into Coldwater Creek and contaminated it. This exposed many people unknowingly who lived near the creek in north St. Louis County.

Bridgeton Landfill Community will be holding another meeting on March 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the John Calvin Presbyterian Church to discuss the proposed remedy options and strategize as a community toward a solution.

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