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West Lake Landfill may be more contaminated than previously thought, company says via St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In a revelation that could shake up oversight and liability at the contaminated West Lake Landfill, one of the companies involved says some of the radioactive waste may have come from sources officials have yet to acknowledge.

“There’s some evidence that there could be other waste streams there,” said Craig Nesbit, a spokesman for Exelon Generation.

He said Exelon supports “proposed science-based efforts to understand all historical radiological material placed in the West Lake landfill.”

The news has already spurred the St. Louis area’s congressional delegation to call for a new review to determine whether the site should be added to a special nuclear cleanup program. In a letter to the Department of Energy, they indicated some of the waste may have been under the DOE’s jurisdiction.

Neighbors of the Bridgeton-area landfill have long said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, or FUSRAP, is better suited to force a cleanup. The corps is cleaning up several other sites around the region contaminated from Mallinckrodt Chemical Works’ uranium processing work for the government during the Manhattan Project.


West Lake was never included in FUSRAP, originally a DOE program that is now operated by the corps. Instead, it was put under EPA jurisdiction in 1990. Nearby residents complain the EPA process doesn’t have enough teeth and that they’ve been waiting for EPA to act for 25 years.

“I’m very encouraged,” said Dawn Chapman, one of the local activists who has long followed the issue. “I think we’re going to get this moved to FUSRAP.”

Republic seemed to suggest such a move would slow the process. The potentially responsible parties “have complied with every EPA study request for decades” Republic Services spokesman Richard Callow said in a statement.

“To start the process over just because a few people don’t like the answer science provides seems a waste and unreasonable as a delay,” he said. Callow declined to comment further.

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