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Dispute continues over Bridgeton landfill waste

By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Environmental groups and the city of Bridgeton are still fighting a federal plans to leave radioactive waste in a nearby landfill.

The Environmental Protection Agency wants to cover the contaminated soil in the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. The waste, originally from the production of nuclear weapons at the old Mallinckrodt plant in St. Louis, was dumped there in 1973.

Kay Drey, with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, says it should be removed from the landfill. "These are wastes that are very radioactive.

"Much of it came originally from the Belgian congo, some of the richest ore in the world. So the residues that were dumped at West Lake landfill should not be left in the flood plain of a major metropolitan area," Drey added.

But the EPA says that while the landfill may be in a historical floodplain, it is protected by a levee built to withstand a 500-year flood. The EPA plan could cover the landfill with rocks, rubble and clay.

Project manager Dan Wall says the material from Cold War-era weapons production would present no danger, even with the Missouri River nearby.

"We think it can be safely managed in place and don't believe that it being in what some people call a floodplain is a problem," he said.

A public hearing on the issue will be held September 14 at the Bridgeton Community Center.

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