Fact vs. Fiction

Excavation would be long, dangerous & expensive.

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There is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding West Lake Landfill. Missourians deserve to know the truth.

We are here to help separate the myths from facts.

Myth: Excavating West Lake Landfill is the best solution for the site.

Fact: Excavation would be long, dangerous and expensive. It would:

  • Dramatically increase (700 X) radiation exposure risks for workers digging up and hauling the material.
  • Create reckless radiation exposure risks for communities throughout Missouri over a 30 to 40 year span, including dust emissions during the excavation and transportation of the material, as well as public exposure from road or railway accidents while hauling the material.
  • Put Landfill neighbors at risk of impacted rainwater drainage and run-off as a result of the digging.
  • Threaten aircraft operating at Lambert Field by greatly increasing the risk of bird strikes.

Myth: The radiological contaminants at the West Lake Landfill threaten public health and safety for the surrounding community.

Fact: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there are no health risks to individuals living or working in the vicinity of West Lake Landfill. The CDC’s report adds to extensive scientific research by the EPA, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and various independent experts, who all conclude that the site is safe. Capping the site would ensure safety at the site, forever.

Myth: There is a fire at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill that could spread to the West Lake Landfill and explode.

Fact: There is no fire. A fire requires oxygen. There is a heat-producing chemical reaction — which causes waste to decompose more quickly than normal — occurring deep within the South Quarry of Bridgeton Landfill, where oxygen does not exist. The subsurface reaction is isolated, and it is being managed through a variety of containment efforts.

The radiological material disposed at West Lake Landfill is very low-level. Any uranium of value was extracted, or leached, twice from the material before it was disposed of at the site. Various scientists and academics agree that the material is neither explosive nor vulnerable to heat.

Myth: Transferring West Lake Landfill to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ FUSRAP program will accelerate a federal solution at the site.

Fact: Transferring West Lake Landfill to FUSRAP means more delays, and it shifts the up-front costs to American taxpayers.

  • There are 24 sites nationwide already in the FUSRAP program. Congress has funded FUSRAP at roughly $100 million per year for the past decade. In 2016, the six most expensive FUSRAP sites will use 80% of the program’s budget, leaving sparse resources for any work at the other 18 sites.
  • Transferring West Lake Landfill to FUSRAP means that the Army Corps will initiate its own evaluation and studies before recommending a solution to EPA. This process could take decades. The Army Corps has been working at other locations in the St. Louis area since the 1990’s, with no end in sight.
  • Transferring West Lake Landfill to FUSRAP also shifts the up-front costs to the American taxpayer, which could be as high as $400 million.