Radioactive waste at STL site to be fixed by EPA

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ST. LOUIS, Mo — The site has nuclear byproduct from the creation of WW2 atomic bombs. 

A site riddled with the radioactive finally has a plan in place to be cleaned up. 

Two men involved in the Manhattan Project including Springfield native Robert Moon, ordered the dumping of nuclear by-products into what is now the Westlake Landfill in St. Louis.

After hundreds of lawsuits from people who claimed they were harmed from the waste, the EPA now has a plan to clean things up. 

When part of northwest St. Louis became ground zero for hundreds of barrels of radioactive waste which was by product from the “Manhattan Project” for building atomic bombs, people had no idea how present day residents would be affected. 

In an area where cancers, autoimmune disorders, and brain tumors are common diagnosis, the EPA finally has a plan in place to clean things up.

EPA Regional Director Jim Gulliford says their plan to remove much of that waste will cover all the bases. 

“This will include all of the design work into the materials that leave, how they will leave, where they will go, how the site will be protected during what we will call the construction phase,” Gulliford says.  

The hazardous material will be transported offsite where residents will not be affected. The plan will take about three years to complete, costing about $205 Million dollars. 

The plan is to dig into radioactive hotspots from 8 to 20 feet under the surface, but Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment says, it’s only a start. 

“We have a decision in which 70% of the radioactivity will be removed. That is certainly is significantly better than zero. We think this is progress that more can be done,” Smith says. 

A big concern before this plan, was that if the fire on one side of the landfill sparked the radioactive material, it could have catastrophic results. There is a small chance the air contamination could have reached the Ozarks, but the now with a plan in place, the hope is that there is no chance of a radioactive disaster. 

Missouri has played a bigger role in World War 2 than many people realize.

KOLR10 has reported on this topic in the past.

In 2016, KOLR10 spoke to several people in that area who believed their cancer diagnoses resulted directly from the contamination.

If you’d like to watch the 3 part series — you can find those below.

MANHATTAN PROJECT

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

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