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Praxair rejects City's offer for new location

The Praxair fire on June 24. (UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)

By Bill Raack, KWMU / AP

St. Louis, MO – Praxair, the gas distributor whose plant in the Lafayette Square neighborhood was rocked by explosions in June, is saying 'no' to the city's offer of a relocation site.

The company says the city-owned property near Lambert Airport is unsuitable because it's contaminated by radioactive waste that was dumped there in the 1940s.

"There is a creek bounding the property that was offered to us and it is, in fact, contaminated," says Praxair vice-president Nigel Muir. "It requires dredging to remove those materials and the creek is subject to flooding. So, being adjacent to a creek that's flooding with contaminated materials is certainly not where we wanted to be." Muir also said Praxair has no desire to build a new plant within a Superfund site.

The Army Corps of Engineers says, however, that a recent review of the property has found no contamination outside of the creek.

Praxair says it is still interested in working with the city to find a new site.

The company's plant on Choteau Avenue has been shut down since the June 24th fire that tossed large tanks hundreds of feet into the air and into yards of homeowners living near the plant.

There were no serious injuries, but residents near the plant have expressed strong opposition to allowing the industrial operation to reopen.


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