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FLORISSANT • Additional radioactive material has been discovered at a Bridgeton landfill, according to Florissant City Engineer Tim Barrett.

In a letter to Florissant Mayor Thomas Schneider, who had requested an update, Barrett said that he spoke with someone from the state Department of Natural Resources on Monday afternoon about the additional radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill. He said a report was expected to be released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later this week on the new findings.

The radioactive material was discovered during exploratory work for construction of a cutoff trench to separate the known radioactive waste from an underground fire smoldering in the South Quarry of the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill.

Depending on the location and results of additional sampling, Barrett wrote, “the new findings will impact where and how it (the trench) is built.”

“Going in all parties knew there was a chance that some additional radioactive materials may be encountered, and it appears that they did indeed find it,” Barrett wrote.

He wrote that the temperature and gas conditions were still lower than the level to require a trench. However, he wrote, “Republic Services (landfill owner) decided to forgo watching for the ‘trigger’ levels and go ahead and build the trench rather than sit and wait.”

State Rep. Keith English, D-Florissant, who has been actively monitoring the landfill, said: “For many years, cities like Florissant have wanted these tests done.”

He credited a lawsuit filed by the state attorney general for prompting the landfill testing.

English has introduced a resolution in the Missouri House calling on Congress to transfer authority over the radioactive waste cleanup from the EPA to the Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program. About 65 state legislators have signed it, he said.

“I would only hope that Congress will act on our state resolution and give power to the Army Corps of Engineers,” he said.

Mayor Schneider said that because of potential contamination of the Missouri River from the waste, “the whole St. Louis area will be affected in the long run if we don’t do the right thing” regarding the cleanup.

Margaret S. Gillerman is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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