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Waste & Recycling February 08, 2018 09:30:11 AM

EPA Promises Complete Removal of Radioactive Waste from West Lake Landfill

Waste Advantage
ScrapMonster Contributor
The agency then began evaluating other options for the site. Discovery of an underground smoldering fire at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill renewed residents’ push for decisions and answers.
EPA Promises Complete Removal of Radioactive Waste from West Lake Landfill

SEATTLE (Waste Advantage): The Environmental Protection Agency has released the full details of its proposal to remove radioactive waste from the West Lake Landfill. The agency will make a final decision after a public comment period.

The EPA will take feedback from individuals, environmental groups and companies responsible for the Superfund site until March 22. A public meeting will be held March 6 at the District 9 Machinists Hall in Bridgeton.

Last week, the agency announced plans to remove 70 percent of the radioactivity at the landfill, in northwest St. Louis County. The site sits about 600 feet from an underground smoking fire at the Bridgeton Landfill.

Residents have tried to convince the EPA to clean up the site for years, and to many, the agency’s decision is a victory. But activists and some people who live near the site worry that removing only some of the waste may not be enough.

What the EPA’s Done So Far

Government officials added West Lake Landfill to the National Priorities List in 1990, designating it as a Superfund site. The EPA then began investigating the site more closely. Afterward, the agency published a study in 1991 that found the site “presents no apparent public health hazard” and recommended “continued monitoring.”

The site wavered in legal limbo for the next few years while the government attempted to determine whether or not the site needed to be cleaned up, and if so, which companies were at fault and should pay for any remediation. During that time, the EPA continued investigating the site.

With the investigation complete, the EPA began its first feasibility study. In 2006, the agency proposed capping the waste. The EPA accepted public comments and held public meetings, then signed two Records of Decision for the site in 2008. Many Bridgeton residents maintained throughout this process that they didn’t think the cap was a sufficient solution.

With pressure from the community, in January 2010 the EPA began conducting a Supplemental Feasibility Study — an unusual step. In December 2011, the EPA released the new feasibility study, which found that removing the waste, while expensive, would not be impossible.

The agency then began evaluating other options for the site. Discovery of an underground smoldering fire at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill renewed residents’ push for decisions and answers.

After years of deliberation, the EPA announced last week that it would remove 27 percent of the total waste at the site, targeting 70 percent of the radioactivity. This solution combines several of the remedies that the agency has considered in the past few years. The “proposed plan” explains which “cleanup alternatives” will be used and the remedy ultimately selected.

Courtesy: https://wasteadvantagemag.com

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