Epa wants to do partial excavation of contaminants at radioactive west lake landfill superfund site metro stltoday.com electricity outage


March 2013 • Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sues Republic, accusing the company of violating state environmental laws. An agreement, reached in May 2013, outlines a plan of action that includes capping the landfill by early September.

October 2015 • St. Louis County releases an emergency plan and school districts send letters home, prompting widespread concern. Construction on the barrier from West Lake, awaiting approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, still has not started.

December 2017: Before a U.S. House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said the agency would announce a cleanup proposal at West Lake in January. The following day, the site was named one of 21 Superfund sites in the country to be targeted for "immediate, intense action," based on the recommendations of a Superfund Task Force.

January 2018: The pending lawsuit between the state of Missouri and Republic Services — which had been set for a jury trial in March — is stayed by a court order seeking to give the parties additional time to work toward a settlement. The order said a new trial would be set if a settlement cannot be finalized.

February 2018: The EPA proposes partially excavating the site’s "radiologically impacted material," to a depth of 16 feet. The approach would be paired with installation of a cap designed to meet certain standards for containing uranium radiation.

From effusive praise to disappointment, the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed cleanup strategy for the radioactive West Lake Landfill Superfund site in Bridgeton attracted a wide range of reactions from area elected officials. Here are statements they released about the EPA announcement.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. • “West Lake families have been tireless advocates for the health and safety of their children and community. They should not have had to wait 27 years for a plan to clean up the site, especially when they were promised action under the previous administration. I thank Administrator (Scott) Pruitt for making West Lake a priority and moving quickly to offer a plan to clean up the site. Families living near West Lake will now have an opportunity to review the proposal and make their voices heard. I will continue listening to them and working with the administration on a path forward that gives families the peace of mind they deserve.”

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis • “As the first Member of Congress to call for the removal of nuclear waste from West Lake landfill, today’s announcement by the EPA of a cleanup is a huge victory for our long-suffering community and it is a major step towards long-delayed environmental justice.

"I want to thank EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for his leadership in helping reach this decision. And I especially want to salute the courage and sacrifice of Just Moms STL, the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and the many citizen environmental advocates whose dogged determination and faith have led us to this landmark decision that will keep our community safe.”

St. Louis County Executive, Steve Stenger • “I am disappointed in the EPA’s decision. I, like many residents, believe the EPA should have elected to excavate and remove all hazardous material from the West Lake Landfill. St. Louis County will continue to monitor water and air quality at the site. We will also do everything in our power to help address any serious long-term health and safety concerns of residents near the landfill.”

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin • "After years of broken promises and inaction by previous administrations, Administrator Pruitt and the EPA are proposing a viable, permanent solution for cleaning up the West Lake Landfill. I commend them for delivering on this promise to our community and prioritizing Missourians who have lived in fear and uncertainty for too long. The general public will now have the opportunity to review this proposal and share their thoughts and concerns.

“Today’s much anticipated announcement is a testament to the local leaders I have worked with since my first year in Congress to ensure the safety and well-being of the families surrounding the West Lake Landfill. Their tireless efforts have made this a top priority, and it is an honor to represent such a strong and committed community in Washington, D.C."