Coalition Report

By Ed Smith,
Policy Director
Coalition for the Environment

EPA Proposes Partial Removal of Radioactivity at West Lake Landfill – Now for Public Comments

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) provides a guide for how to get involved in support of maximum radioactive removal at the West Lake Landfill now that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a plan for partial removal.

West Lake Landfill Facts
The radioactive contamination is located in an unlined portion of the landfill, meaning there is nothing separating the radioactivity from the groundwater. The landfill is in the floodplain of the Missouri River, vulnerable to liquefaction from a large earthquake, which could mobilize radioactivity into the groundwater and the air. Radioactivity is going to increase in overall radioactivity over the next 9,000 years and is within 700 feet of a smoldering landfill fire.

EPA’s Proposed Remedy
The EPA is proposing partial removal by excavating radioactive contamination from the top 16 feet. This would remove about 67% of the overall radioactivity but only about 27% of the radioactively impacted material. The EPA chose Alternative 4 out of 8 different options.

MCE Guide for EPA Public Comments
The public comment period is currently open and runs through March 22, 2018. MCE supports Alternative 7, which calls for maximum removal of the radioactive contamination at the site. MCE encourages your comments to the EPA to include support for the implementation of Alternative 7 with offsite transportation to a federally designated disposal facility and a buyout for families living closest to the landfill. No family should have to live within a mile of smoldering landfill fire that is releasing sulfur dioxide and other chemicals. We also encourage the EPA to contract the Army Corps of Engineers for the removal and disposal of radioactive contamination because the Corps has an excellent track record of handling the same type of radioactive contamination in other parts of St. Louis.

Comments can be submitted at

The EPA will hold a public meeting to receive comments at the District 9 Machinist Union Hall in Bridgeton on March 6, 2018.

You can find more information and detailed documents at www.epa.gov/mo/west-lake-landfill.

For information about the Missouri Coalition for the Environment please visit www.moenviron.org.