Water Sampling in North St. Louis County

By Christen Commuso

In case you missed it, Missouri Coalition for the Environment and Just Moms STL recently partnered to form the STL Toxic Waste Alliance. We believe it is every person’s right to know the communities in which they live, work, worship, and play are safe and free from hazardous and radioactive wastes. Through outreach and training sessions, the Alliance aims to inform residents about the contaminants in their neighborhood and ultimately empower citizens to advocate for clean-up and public health protections. We will also work to advance life-saving policies that protect future generations from further harm.

One of the first things we must do is learn what contaminants are present in our neighborhoods and waterways. Fortunately, because of generous funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health, we are able to collect water samples from creeks and tributaries throughout North St. Louis County. Some of the contaminants we’re hoping to test for are Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), lead, and radium, thorium, and uranium radioactive isotopes. The results of these samples will help guide our information campaigns, outreach efforts, and potentially shape new policy.

Floodwaters have been proven to carry these contaminants and deposit them in the yards of homes, parks, schools, etc. The historic rains that hit St. Louis this summer were a grim reminder that flooding is a great threat to our region, especially if we don’t know what’s in the water.

This project is still in the early planning stages; please stay tuned to track our progress.

People can learn more about the STL Toxic Waste Alliance at stltoxicwastealliance.com.