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Update: North County St. Louis Residents Demand Answers to Health Problems Potentially Caused by Nuclear Waste at Westlake Landfill

On Tuesday, June 25, 2013, the EPA hosted a public meeting at Pattonville High School in Maryland Heights to discuss health concerns related to the Westlake Landfill in Bridgeton, MO. The Westlake Landfill contains radiologically-contaminated wastes secretly deposited there in the 1970s, as part of Mallinckrodt Chemical Company’s involvement with the Manhattan Project—specifically, uranium processing. See our previous post for more information.

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks fielded questions at the public meeting in Maryland Heights—a meeting attended by hundreds of residents. The EPA continues to claim there is no public health threat from the underground fire at the Bridgeton Landfill or from the radioactive waste that was illegally buried at the nearby Westlake Landfill. According to a recent news report, many people at the meeting questioned the EPA’s assessment. Robert Criss, a geochemist at Washington University in St. Louis, has also disputed the EPA’s chemical analysis of the site. In a May interview with the Rolling Stone, Criss explained that “[f]or the last three decades, various government documents have referred to the waste at the landfill as ‘leached barium sulfate,’ a nearly insoluble compound generated from uranium processing. But, Criss said, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s own data shows the material dumped at West Lake contains “far too little barium and sulfate to compose barium sulfate – by factors of 100 and 1000, respectively.” Disputing the EPA’s chemical analysis of the site, Criss argues “[i]t is inconceivable for these people to promote remedies when they don’t even know what they’re dealing with.”

According to a 1986 National Water Summary on groundwater quality, the U.S. Geological Survey admitted that:

“Westlake landfill, located in St. Louis County, accepted solvents, pesticides, acids, and material containing radionuclides.      The site has been contaminated with 4,000 tons of chlordane, trichloroethylene, and toluene, as well as 7,000 tons of low-level uranium-ore waste. The shallow water surface in the alluvium along the Missouri River may provide an easy path for these contaminants to enter the river (Missouri Department of Natural Resources, 1986d).”

Schlichter, Bogard & Denton, LLP is continuing to follow the events in Bridgeton. Exposure to toxic chemicals is a serious health concern. If you believe you have been injured by exposure to toxic chemicals, please contact us toll-free at 1-800-597-8523 for your confidential and free consultation.


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