Updated 6/24/15 after the Corps open house – Area residents packed into a room at the Hazelwood Civic Center last night to find out the bad news about radioactive contamination in North St. Louis County.
At the open house, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers confirmed it has found radioactive contamination at three new sites along Coldwater Creek.
They are in St. Cin Park in Hazelwood, Duchesne Park in Florissant, and a property of the St. Louis Archdiocese behind St. Ferdinand cemetery, also in Hazelwood. All the contaminated areas are subject to flooding from the creek.
Terry said he wants Congress to provide the St. Louis Corps with more funding. “I think the more they get, the more they’ll be able to do,” Terry said. “And I also think there needs to be a bigger sense of urgency, because people are dying.”
Like Terry, Michelle Seeger grew up in Florissant near Coldwater Creek. She has stage four cancer.
Seeger called Wednesday evening’s open house a waste of time. “It’s just go to the next booth Michelle, I can’t answer that question Michelle, we’ll let you know Michelle, we’re testing Michelle,” Seeger said. “We found stuff but it doesn’t hurt people. I’m just frustrated.”
Seeger said the Corps needs to do more to educate the public about the risks of radioactive waste — and move faster to clean it up.
“It’s too late for me. I have cancer. It’s incurable,” Seeger said.
But she said she hopes it’s not too late for children growing up near Coldwater Creek now.
The Army finally responded seven months later. In that response letter, Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy did not commit to any additional funding. Instead she urged Missouri’s DNR to share its concerns with the Army Corps’ St. Louis District team, which is responsible for the Coldwater Creek clean-up.
Meanwhile, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health has started preliminary work on a study of cancer cases among current and former residents of the neighborhoods along the creek. According to Faisal Khan, the department’s director, his staff will start recruiting study participants by early December.
Wednesday’s open house with the Army Corps will run from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Hazelwood Civic Center at 8969 Dunn Road.