As the majority of our residents know, our community has been reminded often that the troubles surrounding the municipal landfill are still affecting this area. Four years ago, the Pattonville Fire District received information that a “smoldering event” was occurring underground in the southern portion of the closed Bridgeton Municipal Landfill. We had also learned that this event had been going on for the previous year and quite possibly longer than that. The Pattonville Fire Protection District has taken the position since the very onset of our involvement that the health and welfare of our residents, visitors, and neighbors is at the top on the list of priorities when it comes to dealing with the ongoing issues surrounding the entire project. Our focus has also been to make every effort to understand the risks for our fire fighters who would be called on in the event that conditions change and force our firefighters to be placed in harm’s way. It is our responsibility to have as much knowledge about the multitude of possible scenarios that could take place and be able to deal with those possibilities while reducing the risks to the community, workers at the sight, and the fire fighters, all of which, could be placed in a very hazardous situation at any time. We want our district residents to know that while at times it appears that things are moving slowly, or not as fast as some think it should be going, we are here for our fellow neighbors, watching the data, monitoring the status of the heat and gases and keeping this community’s health and safety our number one priority.
• The State of MO has done its own testing and found radioactive waste off-site. As a result of this announcement, the EPA came out with previously “known” locations that they have been aware of in which radioactive wastes are off site. The EPA has pledged to continue to test off-site areas specifically emphasizing potential drainage areas.
• New locations with radioactive contamination have been found on the landfill in an area closer to the fire than previously thought. There are discussions between the State of MO and the EPA about complete characterization of the North Quarry and continuing to test further South closer to the heat front for areas that may contain radioactive wastes.
• In response to the State of MO’s ground water sampling and the USGS, the EPA has announced that the ground water contamination at this site continues to be an issue. The ground water has now been titled OU3 and under CERCLA Superfund Law will need its own Record of Decision (solution). More studies of the ground water are needed to ensure the best remedy. The EPA estimates approximately two more years of collecting ground water data every quarter before they will decide on a permanent solution to the groundwater.
• The bill to transfer authority of the radioactive wastes to the US Army Corps of Engineers passed the Senate and is now awaiting passage in the House. This bill is titled HR4100 and was introduced bi-partisan, by Congressman Lacy Clay and Congresswoman Ann Wagner. It was co-sponsored by Congressman Blaine Leutkemeyer.
• The St. Louis County Health Department has finished their data collection for a County Health Emissions/Respiratory Health Study in a two mile area surrounding the landfill. Results are not expected to be released until June 2016.