ST. LOUIS (AP/KMOX) – (UPDATED 4:31 p.m.) The Environmental Protection Agency is ordering surface fire prevention measures at a St. Louis-area landfill where nuclear waste was illegally dumped in 1973.
The order announced Thursday follows a brush fire that occurred at West Lake landfill in Bridgeton in October.
The order requires companies associated with West Lake landfill to clear trees and brush and place noncombustible material on the surface, among other steps. The EPA is requiring a written plan within three weeks.
The Oct. 24 brush fire was blamed on a faulty utility pole. The EPA found no evidence the fire created any hazard for nearby homes or businesses.
EPA Regional Administrator Mark Hague is also promising that by the end of this month, he will announce a plan on the firebreak trench – something that’s been delayed for more than a year because radioactive dirt keeps being discovered where it isn’t supposed to be.
Meanwhile, an underground fire smoldering for years is no more than 1,200 feet away at the adjoining Bridgeton landfill.
Our previous reporting is as follows:
The regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to announce an order related to cleanup of West Lake Landfill, the suburban St. Louis site where Cold War-era nuclear waste is buried near a smoldering underground fire.
EPA Region 7 Administrator Mark Hague will offer details Thursday afternoon.
Nuclear waste was illegally dumped at West Lake Landfill in 1973. The material dated back to the Manhattan Project, which created the first atomic bomb in the 1940s.
The underground fire burns no more than 1,200 feet away at the adjoining Bridgeton Landfill. Both landfills are owned by Republic Services.
No illnesses have been linked to the nuclear waste, but the EPA has been criticized by some nearby residents for moving too slowly on a plan to remediate the site.
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