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Anger Apparent At Bridgeton Nuclear Waste Hearing

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Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, where underground fire has been smoldering since December 2010 (Photo: KMOX)

Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill, where underground fire has been smoldering since December 2010 (Photo: KMOX)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) - Nearly 500 Bridgeton residents packed into a Pattonville High School auditorium Tuesday night to ask Environmental Protection Agency officials what they are doing to monitor radioactive waste at the West Lake Landfill.

It was a meeting that often devolved into chaotic shouting and left many questions unanswered.

EPA Regional Director Carl Brooks was asked of his plans in case a fire at the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill were to spread to the nuclear waste at West Lake. Brooks said there was “adequate time” before that happened.

“Enough time for the experts within the state agency as well as within the EPA to make the decisions that have to be made,” he said.

Many residents called on Brooks and the EPA to remove the West Lake waste.

“You don’t bury that stuff in a state where we’re on the New Madrid fault, it’s a known earthquake state, and then we’re next to states where they’re fracking, causing earthquakes like in Arkansas,” one woman said. “It is a no-brainer.”

The EPA says the removal would be costly and likely dangerous.

“Hopefully 500 kind of frustrated people showing up to a public meeting with the EPA will light a fire under their butts instead of the fire we have to deal with over here at the landfill,” Ed Smith with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment said.

Smith says he wasn’t surprised by the amount of anxiety and anger expressed at Tuesday night’s meeting.

Many residents blame cancer and birth defects on the West Lake waste, claims the Missouri Department of Health says it is investigating.

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