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EPA Refuses Koster’s Demand for More Radiation Tests

Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)
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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)

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BRIDGETON, Mo. (KMOX) - The EPA has responded to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster’s demand for more radiation tests on the haul roads around the West Lake landfill.

In a letter to Koster, EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says that the EPA plans to conduct radiation screening at the Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex, where a boys little league team has refused to play for fear of contamination.

“This unusual step of reevaluating recent and historical data and testing reaffirms this agency’s commitment to protect Missourians’ public health and safety,” Brooks writes.

Karl Brooks' letter to Chris Koster

Karl Brooks’ letter to Chris Koster

With regard to the haul routes, Brooks says the EPA will work with the Army Corps of Engineers to send Koster and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources information about soil sampling that’s already been conducted. This sampling, he says, doesn’t identify high concentrations of radiation.

Brooks concludes that there’s no legal or scientific reason for the EPA to do more sampling of haul routes near the landfill, as there’s no evidence that radiological contamination has spread to areas surrounding the landfill.

A few weeks ago, Koster made his argument clear for further testing.

“Radiological material was unquestionably taken along certain haul routes into the West Lake area,” he said. “We therefore think it’s the EPA’s responsibility to make sure that there is no radiological residue along those routes.”

Koster has threatened to sue the EPA unless it tests the roads, but after receiving today’s response from the EPA, he stopped short of confirming he will sue.

“We are reviewing the EPA’s response to determine the appropriate next steps,” his office says.

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