MCE statement on the West Lake Landfill Record of Decision
The EPA’s West Lake Landfill decision marks a significant milestone in the cleanup of the West Lake Landfill and is a positive step toward the long-term safety of the St. Louis region. The EPA’s final decision calls for removal of up to 70% of the radioactive material and for disposal at an out-of-state facility. This announcement today is a reversal of the EPA’s 2008 decision to cap-and-leave the waste at the unlined landfill in the Missouri River floodplain. Missouri Coalition for the Environment (MCE) has worked on issues at the West Lake Landfill for well over a decade and while today’s announcement is good news for the St. Louis region, we continue to ask for full removal and a buyout of the nearby families. These goals were echoed over and over at the EPA’s public meeting in March that was attended by more than 1,000 people. As long as there is radioactive material at West Lake Landfill, every flood, tornado, fire, or earthquake presents a potential threat to our water, air, and health.
The impacted community has worked tirelessly to engage the public and elected officials about the harms at West Lake and should be proud of what they have accomplished to move the EPA. This decision reflects a triumph of the community over a relentless misinformation campaign led by the landfill owner, Republic Services.
Today’s announcement is not the last decision that will be made regarding cleanup at the landfill. The EPA announced it will investigate radioactive groundwater contamination in the near future, which will result in a forthcoming plan regarding the remainder of the radioactive contamination. MCE will push for removal of all remaining radioactive material as a result of the EPA’s groundwater investigation and another decision will be reached in the future on this issue. The community will need to remain engaged at this site in order to ensure the long-term safety of people and the protection of natural resources. Stay tuned to moenvironment.org for more information.
Picture of MCE founding member, Kay Drey, providing public testimony at the EPA’s public hearing on March 6, 2018.