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Feds to conduct a review of Coldwater Creek cleanup, Bush says

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Questions still linger as Coldwater Creek remediation continues

Contaminated dirt is prepared at the Army Corps of Engineers FUSRAP facility on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, before being loaded onto rail cars and carried from the Coldwater Creek flood plain along James S. McDonnell Boulevard near St. Louis Lambert International Airport. 

JEFFERSON CITY — The federal government will conduct a review of the cleanup of radioactive contamination at Coldwater Creek in St. Louis County, U.S. Rep. Cori Bush said on Thursday.

The St. Louis Democrat said the review by the Government Accountability Office resulted from a letter she and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-New York, sent GAO last July.

The letter requested an evaluation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP). The letter said the program was created in 1974 to identify and clean sites “contaminated by atomic energy activities.”

The letter said a disparity between need and funding is “an urgent, critical threat to the communities poisoned by FUSRAP sites every single day.

“In Representative Cori Bush’s St. Louis district, radioactive waste discarded from the manufacture of atomic bombs for the Manhattan Project still threatens residents around Coldwater Creek, which regularly floods gardens, backyards, and public school playgrounds with potentially radioactive water,” the letter said.

“When I lived in the vicinity of the Creek, the basement of my house would regularly flood with potentially radioactive water,” Bush said Thursday. “My son’s room was in that basement. Black families in North County have been unsafe and unhealthy for too long because of toxic water. The pace and thoroughness of cleanup at Coldwater Creek remains totally unacceptable.”

Her office said the GAO would focus its review on pinpointing “reported environmental liabilities associated with FUSRAP sites,” identifying “demographic characteristics” around such sites, evaluating the Department of Defense’s management of the program, and evaluating how the government warns people of sites that are not yet remediated.

Posted at 3 p.m. Thursday, June 16. 

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