Members of Missouri's congressional delegation have issued a letter strongly urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to turn over responsibility for the clean-up of radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill as well as Representatives William Lacy Clay and Ann Wagner signed the Feb. 28 letter addressed to EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks.
In it, they thanked the EPA for its efforts thus far, but said that the radioactive material at the West Lake Landfill and the subsurface fire at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill “continue to be issues of great concern to us and our constituents in the great St. Louis community.”
The letter did not ask the EPA to relinquish its authority over the landfill.
But it said that given the Corps’ established reputation for successfully cleaning up similar radioactive waste sites in the St. Louis area, the EPA should “consider contracting directly with the Corps to handle any and all remediation needed” at West Lake.
That letter comes as welcome news to the coalition of area residents who have been lobbying for the Corps to take over the West Lake clean-up.
In a written statement, EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said he had received the letter, and that the congressional delegation's recommendation that the EPA enlist the Corps' help at West Lake was getting his "serious consideration." Brooks said that the EPA works with the Corps at Superfund sites across the U.S., and that his office "is starting to identify specific needs for Corps expertise at West Lake."
To help give some perspective on the progression of events, we've created a timeline which marks many of the most significant moments since the West Lake Landfill was designated a Superfund site in 1990. It also includes some of the key developments related to the underground fire at the neighboring Bridgeton Landfill.