St. Louis Landfill Fire Gets Closer to Radioactive Waste

Luke 21:7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?” Luke 21:11 "There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and epidemics in many lands, and there will be terrifying things (that which strikes terror), and great miraculous signs in the heavens."

An underground fire at Bridgeton Landfill, located about 20 miles from downtown St. Louis, has been smoldering since 2010 with radioactive waste buried less than 1000 yards away at West Lake Landfill. The West Lake Landfill was designated as an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site in 1990, but the federal government is still deciding how to clean up the waste.

Missouri Attorney General  Koster released reports last month that showed  radioactive waste has contaminated trees and groundwater outside the perimeter of the landfill, where World War II-era uranium byproducts were dumped illegally in the 1970s.

“It’s no longer just underneath the landfill itself.  It has migrated through the air and groundwater and we have expert testimony that we’re going to present that shows that,” he said.

Koster is speaking of the on going lawsuit against the owner of  the Bridgeton and West Lake Landfills, Republic Services, to force them to clean up the locations.  Koster filed a lawsuit against the company in 2013, claiming negligent management and violation of state environmental laws, the Associated Press reported. The case is scheduled to go to trial in March 2016.

In a recently revealed St. Louis County emergency response plan it was noted that there is potential for radioactive fallout with no warning. At least 4 area school districts sent letters to parents on Monday explaining their plans to evacuate or shelter students and close off air intakes to limit exposure should the fire reach the radioactive dumping area.

Superintendent of the Pattonville School District wrote, “We remain frustrated by the situation at the landfill. This impacts not only our community, but the entire St. Louis region.”

Analysts with Republic Services show the company’s gas wells aimed at keeping the smoldering heat from reaching the radioactive waste have been successful. The Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees West Lake Landfill as a toxic Superfund site, has also made repeated assurances that it is safe and in an AP report has accused the Missouri Attorney General of causing “public angst and confusion.”

Landfill spokesman Russ Knocke told KMOX St. Louis, “Bridgeton Landfill, whose management team works closely with the region’s first responder community, is safe and intensively monitored.”

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