ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – KMOX has obtained a lab report on tests for radiation at the NGA West site — and the results have an environmental group calling on the EPA to step in.
The city of St. Louis hired a radiation consulting firm to do the tests in mid-November, following reports on KMOX about the site across the street — the old Pruitt-Igoe housing complex, where the U.S. government allegedly sprayed radioactive material as part of a Cold War experiment.
The Pruitt-Igoe site has been fenced-off and overgrown for years, but was recently bulldozed to make way for a planned hospital development.
St. Louis Development Corporation Executive Director Otis Williams said in November that because the Pruitt-Igoe site is owned by a private developer, he could not test there. So he decided to test for radiation across the street at the NGA site, which is controlled by the city, and which was in the vicinity of the alleged Cold War era spraying.
A health physicist with R. M. Wester and Associates of St. Peters took soil samples at 2233 Cass Avenue on November 16.
KMOX obtained a copy of the lab report through a public records request.
The report makes no claims about any possible health risks at the site, but claims the radiation levels found are “within the range of expected naturally occurring radioactive material.”
Ed Smith of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment disagrees.
In a letter to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers, the coalition calls for work in the area to be halted until it is determined to be safe for workers and the surrounding community.
>> CLICK HERE to read Smith’s letter, which copies Gov. Eric Greitens, Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, and other Missouri government officials
He says the radiation found in some soil samples is above the federal clean-up level.
“The radioactive levels found around Pruitt-Igoe [are] in some cases double what would qualify for radioactive removal at West Lake Landfill,” Smith said.
Smith says for the West Lake Landfill, the “clean-up level” for Thorium 232 is 7.9 picocuries per gram, while at the Cass Avenue site, Thorium 232 was found at levels as high as 14.3.
Smith has sent a letter to the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers calling for more testing.
Smith’s letter also requests testing across the street at the Pruitt-Igoe site.
A representative of R.M. Wester and Associates said he could not comment on the report without permission from the city of St. Louis. An official with the city did not return KMOX’s calls seeking that permission.
>> CLICK HERE to see the full report from R.M. Wester.