Operable Unit-1 Background
Radioactive material was transported from the Latty Avenue site in Hazelwood and dumped at the West Lake Landfill in 1973 without government authorization. Operable Unit-1 (OU-1) is under the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and consists of two separate areas impacted by radioactive material. Area 1 is closest to the ongoing smoldering fire and contains approximately 58,700 cubic yards of radioactive contamination. Area 2 is to the west of Area 1 and contains approximately 251,000 cubic yards of the radioactive contamination.
The EPA’s Record of Decision issued in September 2018 calls for removing up to 70% of the total radioactivity at the West Lake Landfill with disposal at a licensed out-of-state facility designed for such material. The decision is a huge step forward and a major shift from the EPA’s 2008 decision to cap-and-leave all of the radioactivity at the unlined landfill in the Missouri River floodplain.
Just Moms STL: This is a group of concerned citizens focused on the health and wellness of the community closest to the West Lake Landfill. Just Moms STL has largely focused on education and advocacy in support of a safe and permanent solution for the radioactive waste and a buyout for families living within a mile of the landfill. Since the end of 2012, Just Moms STL holds free monthly public meetings on the third Thursday of the month to share updates and action items with the community. MCE recognized their contributions to the region by awarding the group the R. Roger Pryor Citizen Activist Award in 2013.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Lead jurisdiction for the radioactive material at OU-1 since 1990. The EPA will oversee the removal of radioactive material according to the 2018 Record of Decision.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR): Even though EPA is the lead jurisdiction, the State of Missouri is a partner in the oversight of activities and decision making process related to OU-1 through DNR’s Federal Facility’s Section.
St. Louis Sites Remediation Task Force Report (September 1996). Our Executive Director, Roger Prior, was a member of the task force as well as several members of Missouri Coalition for the Environment.