ST. LOUIS (AP) - Initial testing work is about to start on a trench to help keep an underground fire at a suburban St. Louis landfill from reaching World War II-era nuclear waste buried 1,200 feet away.
Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks told The Associated Press Tuesday that initial survey work for the fire break at the Bridgeton Landfill will begin next week. Actual construction of the trench will start early next year and take several months.
The testing work was delayed more than two weeks by the federal government shutdown.
Bridgeton Landfill owner Republic Services Inc. is paying to build the dirt-filled trench aimed at keeping the smoldering away from the adjacent West Lake Landfill. EPA is supervising the work - West Lake was designated a Superfund site in 1990.
A group of north county residents want their neighbors near the West Lake Landfill to put more pressure on elected leaders to clean up the site. About 100 people attended a public meeting Thursday night hosted by the West Lake Landfill Community Group and Missouri Coalition for the Environment.
MCE's Ed Smith told the group that the current fire smoldering at the Bridgeton Landfill isn't the first to threaten the radioactive site. "There was a landfill fire in the early 90s closer to the radioactive wastes than the current landfill fire," he said.
That's why the groups say plans to build a barrier between the smoldering Bridgeton Landfill and West Lake isn't enough. They want local leaders to put pressure on the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the soil, as they're doing at other radioactive waste sites.
Missouri State Representative Bill Otto was among the political leaders who attended last night's meeting. He told Fox 2 News that EPA work on the barrier project that had stopped because of the government shutdown is back on track. "They're getting back in the office," he said. "And getting ready to resume the work that they had started or were tasked to do with the landfill."
Bridgeton Landfill LLC released the following statement: "We're eager to resume work with the EPA in conjunction with state agencies to begin the next stage of the construction."
Pattonville Fire officials along with St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger and representatives from County Executive Charlie Dooley's office also attended the meeting.
Organizers are calling on residents to note odor issues and contact their local politicians to make a change.
The consequences of the federal government shutdown could ultimately have an effect on the health and safety of St. Louisans.
Missouri's attorney general Chris Koster has joined the call for federal regulators to proceed with required testing of a St. Louis County landfill that's been halted by the budget and debt ceiling stalemate.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decided to delay testing at the Bridgeton Landfill until federal funding for the work is enacted. There has been an underground fire burning at the landfill which is adjacent to the West Lake Landfill where radioactive waste is buried.
Chris Koster's office released a letter yesterday asking the EPA to reconsider its decision to delay testing.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Environmental Protection Agency officials say the U.S. is falling short of its goals to cut Mississippi River pollution and shrink the dead zone it creates in the Gulf of Mexico.
Speaking in Minneapolis Tuesday, the federal officials said states in the river's watershed need to accelerate efforts to cut pollution from farm field runoff and sewage treatment plant discharges.
The area of depleted oxygen was the size of Connecticut this summer. Nancy Stoner, the EPA's acting assistant administrator for water, says that's about three times larger than the agency's goal.
Minnesota Public Radio reports each state has its own plan to help reach the overall goal. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency will issue a draft of its updated plan next month and take public comments on it.
If you live in Overland or vicinity, you may want to attend a meeting tonight with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency. Federal regulators will discuss plans to cleanup industrial waste in Overland where contaminated groundwater lingers from a 25-year-old industrial accident. In 1988 a spill at a metal facility caused groundwater contamination from the chemical trichloroethylene, or T-C-E. The EPA says it will share details from recent indoor air samples taken at several Elmwood Park homes as well as future cleanup plans by the property's owners. Property owner PerkinElmer Inc., which bought the property after the spill occurred, will clean up the land under a 2012 settlement agreement.
The regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has scheduled a meeting for this week to discuss plans to cleanup industrial waste in Overland. Federal regulators will share their strategy with residents of the St. Louis County neighborhood where contaminated groundwater lingers from a 25-year-old industrial accident. A 1988 spill at a metal facility in Overland caused groundwater contamination from the chemical trichloroethylene, or TCE. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the First Baptist Church of Elmwood Park. The EPA says it will share details from recent indoor air samples taken at several Elmwood Park homes as well as future cleanup plans by the property's owners. Property owner PerkinElmer Inc., which bought the property after the spill occurred, will clean up the land under a 2012 settlement agreement.
New air and water tests showed no health risk from the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. That was the message from the EPA to the big – and sometimes rowdy – crowd Tuesday night at Pattonville High School.
Residents say they are concerned that the underground fire burning at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill could spread to radioactive waste buried in the 1970s at the West Lake facility. About 650 came to Tuesday night's meeting, many demanding immediate action.
But EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says preliminary studies show there is time to study the situation before making a decision. "That event over there on the Bridgeton side does not threaten the West Lake Landfill," Brooks said. "It gives us time to assess the science, take a look at the engineering and make good choices about it."
Some residents want the radioactive materials removed. Others favor a buyout.
Brooks says all options are on the table, but nothing will happen right away.
The St. Louis Cardinals make it a habit to honor others before many of the team's home games. But Monday night, it was the baseball franchise that was honored.
The Environmental Protection Agency recognized the team with a plaque for their leadership in food recovery and recycling.
By composting leftovers, like old hot dogs, and donating unused, uncooked food to food pantries, the team has kept 2000 tons of waste out of landfills. According to the EPA, that’s far and away the best of any pro sports franchise.
Blunt and Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill expressed disappointment on Monday that the EPA and two other agencies missed a self-imposed March 15 deadline to establish a plan to move forward with the St. Johns Bayou and New Madrid Floodway project.
Construction to close a 1,500-foot gap in the levee was halted in 2007 due to technical problems with the project's Environmental Impact Statement.
Obama announced his choice of Gina McCarthy as EPA chief earlier this month. Blunt says he'll use a parliamentary procedure known as a hold to block the nomination until the levee issue is resolved.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Groeller Painting Inc. also failed to notify residents about lead-based paint risks before the renovation of a multifamily property built before 1978.
Lead paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978, but can be found in some older homes.
When young children breathe in or swallow lead, it can lead to physical and mental delays, lower intelligence, shorter attention spans and behavioral problems. In adults, it can cause high blood pressure and damage to the nervous system and stomach.
An EPA rule that took effect in 2010 increased the requirements for contractors on projects that disturb lead-based paint.