Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Make Republic Services Clean Up Monstrous Dump

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Make Republic Services Clean Up Monstrous Dump

Article excerpt

On Feb. 1, Scott Pruitt, administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, announced a proposed remedy to address the nuclear waste in the West Lake Landfill. The landfill sits in Bridgeton in an unlined quarry where tons of radioactive material from the Manhattan Project was illegally dumped. Alarmingly, an underground fire burns in an adjacent landfill less than 600 feet from the known radioactive waste. If the fire hits the radioactive material and breaks through the surface, a persistent radioactive plume of smoke would be likely, threatening the future of the St. Louis region as radioactive fallout would be sent in the direction of the prevailing winds.

The remedy proposed by Pruitt and his agency is a compromise between what local residents, environmental groups and concerned citizens want a complete excavation and removal of the waste and what Republic Services, the owner of the landfill, wants a significantly less expensive alternative of simply capping the site. The proposed remedy is to remove about 70 percent of the radioactive waste and place a cap over the remainder. The estimated cost is $236 million, about $460 million less than the estimated cost of full removal and off-site disposal.

This remedy is wholly inadequate for three major reasons; first, a cap is completely insufficient. In the announcement of the proposed remedy, Pruitt himself was quoted, saying, "A cap is not sufficient to protect the health of the citizens in the area." Thirty percent of tons of extraordinarily toxic material is still a huge amount of contamination that would remain in a major metropolitan region and would remain vulnerable to a fire. Why is a cap over 30 percent of the material acceptable when a cap over all of the material is not? If a friend's dog pooped in your house, what would you think if instead of cleaning it all up they proposed removing 70 percent and putting a cap over the rest?

Republic Services reported profits of $3.83 billion in 2017 and just over $10 billion over the past three years. They have the financial resources to cough up the extra $460 million to deal with the colossal dump they own, and financial issues should not be a factor in decisions about the remedy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.