To simply write that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) public meeting detailing proposed remedies for West Lake Landfill was a packed house would be an understatement. The meeting hall was overflowing and parking was a mess. It is estimated that more than 1,000 people attended.
The meeting, held March 6, 2018, in Bridgeton, Mo, outlined the eight different plans the EPA is currently considering as a remedy to the illegally dumped radioactive waste contained in West Lake Landfill.
Continue reading below to see outlines of the eight proposed West Lake Landfill remedies, and video clips of the comments made at the meeting by Just Moms stl co-founders Karen Nickel and Dawn Chapman, Bridgeton Mayor Terry Briggs, and Albert Kelly, chair of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force and advisor to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
The EPA has selected plan number four as it’s preferred method of action. However, the public expressed that plan number seven is their choice of remediation actions. Plan number 7 would fully excavate West Lake Landfill and contaminants would be disposed of off-site.
A decision about the method of action is estimated to be completed by August 2018, according to Albert Kelly, chair of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force.
The EPA is seeking public comments about the proposed plans. The deadline to submit is April 23, 2018. To submit a comment CLICK HERE.
The eight plans proposed by the EPA at the meeting:
Alternative 1 – Required for all feasibility studies to evaluate the risks posed by the contaminate at the site if no action is taken.
- Future risks exceed the Superfund risk range
- Not protective of overall human health and the environment
- Serves as a baseline for evaluation of the other alternatives
Alternative 2 – Modified 2008 – ROD Selected Remedy
(ROD = Record of Decision / RIM = Radiologically Impacted Materials)
- EPA issued a ROD in 2008 to leave all the RIM in place at the site and construct an engineered cover
- Cost: $71 million
- Time to implement: 2.8 years
Alternative 3 – UMTRCA Engineered Cover
(UNTRCA = Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act)
- Alternative 3 would also leave all RIM in place at the site
- Requires a low permeability layer that is 100 times less permeable than Alternative 2
- Cost: $90 million
- Time to implement: 2.8 years
Alternative 4 – (EPA preferred alternative) Excavation of 52.9 pCi/g down to 16 feet
- Radioactivity removed: 67% – Plus the engineered cover from Alternative 3
- Cost: $236 million
- Time to implement: 5 years
Alternative 5 – Excavation greater than 1,000 pCi/g
- Radioactivity removed: 63% – Plus the engineered cover from Alternative 3
- Cost: $287 million
- Time to implement: 8.3 years
Alternative 6 – Risk-Based Excavation
- Radioactivity removed: 1.3% – Plus the engineered cover from Alternative 3
- Cost: $165 million
- Time to implement 4.1 years
Alternative 7 – Full Excavation with Off-Site Disposal
- Radioactivity removed: Close to 100% – Plus a solid waste landfill cover
- Cost: $455 million
- Time to implement: 14.6 years
Alternative 8 – Full Excavation with On-Site Disposal
- Radioactivity removed and encapsulated on-site: Close to 100% – Plus a solid waste landfill cover
- Cost: $391 million
- Time to implement: 14.8 years
Read more about the proposed plans via the EPA Record of Decision HERE.
Albert Kelly, chair of the EPA’s Superfund Task Force and advisor to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, addressed the crowd and said there are three responsible parties, which are the Department of Energy, Republic Services and Exelon Corp., that the EPA expects to step up and help fund the clean up of West Lake Landfill. (See more of Kelly’s comments below in a short video clip.)
Karen Nickel, co-founder of Just Moms STL, a community advocacy group committed to the cleanup West Lake Landfill, gave impassioned comments to the crowd and EPA officials at the meeting. (Below)
Dawn Chapman, co-founder of Just Moms STL, a community advocacy group committed to the cleanup West Lake Landfill, stood in front of the crowded room and made it clear every person living near the West Lake Landfill and in the St. Louis region is not an “acceptable risk” and full remediation is needed to protect the community. (Below)
The mayor of Bridgeton, Mo, Terry Briggs, also made comments during the session. (Below)