STL Toxic Waste Alliance

By Christen Commuso

The STL Toxic Waste Alliance recently rounded out our first year of work. As a reminder, the Alliance was created as a partnership between MCE and the grassroots community organization, Just Moms STL. Together, we believe it is every person’s right to know the communities in which they live, work, worship, or play are safe and free from hazardous and radioactive wastes. The Alliance aims to inform residents about the contaminants in their neighborhood and ultimately empower citizens to advocate for cleanup and public health protections. We will also work to advance lifesaving policies that protect future generations from further harm. The Alliance’s main area of focus this last year has been centered around St. Louis’ widespread radioactive weapons waste contamination in North St. Louis City and County.

Please note the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is tasked with the cleanup of the downtown and north county (SLAPS, HISS, and Coldwater Creek) sites under the Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). Whereas the West Lake Landfill will be remediated under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs); the Department of Energy, Cotter Corporation, and Republic Services, the current landfill owner.


This past year the STL Toxic Waste Alliance has discovered that the contamination levels that trigger a cleanup under the USACE North County Record of Decision (ROD) are sometimes far greater than what we would find to naturally occur in the environment, or what is called background radiation levels. Meaning, if the contamination doesn’t meet their remedial goals, USACE can leave this contamination on a property even if it exists on the surface. We would like to see these levels lowered and have been in talks with our federally elected officials on what it takes to amend the ROD.

We believe that no amount of radioactive weapons waste should be allowed to be left behind in our communities, and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment and our partners in the Alliance will continue to advocate for an improved cleanup to fully protect our region’s people and their environment.

This is only a brief update of the progress we have made this past year, and we encourage you to visit stltoxicwastealliance.com to learn more about our efforts and the issues we are addressing.