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EPA in Missouri

West Lake Landfill - Additional Details About Site Status, June 2017

– THIS PAGE WAS ARCHIVED IN OCTOBER 2018 –

image of West Lake Site Profile PageThe content on this archived page is not maintained and may no longer apply. The Superfund Site Profile Page for the West Lake Landfill Site includes information such as the current status of cleanup efforts and what cleanup milestones have been reached. EPA fully transitioned from this archived page to the Site Profile Page in October 2018. The Site Profile Page is available on EPA's website, with a separate link in the Related Links box below.

SUMMARY

  • Steady progress toward final remedy - EPA is focused on reaching a final remedy decision that is compliant with the law, based on sound science, and considers the state’s position and key concerns in accordance with the National Contingency Plan. EPA will continue to hold the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) accountable for meeting deadlines as the Agency works toward selecting the final proposed remedy.
  • No off-site exposures to area residents - Scientific data indicates that people living and working near the West Lake Landfill Site are not currently being exposed to contaminants above levels of health concern. A significant amount of environmental sampling has been performed on/around the site, including the nearby residential community of Spanish Village. Based on available data, EPA has determined that conditions at the site do not warrant temporary or permanent relocation of residents at this time. EPA bases its understanding of site conditions on current and historical site investigations and sampling done by PRPs, EPA, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).
  • "One Government" Approach - EPA has assembled a team of multiple federal and state agencies to bring the best expertise to this project. The multi-agency team includes the St. Louis and Kansas City districts of USACE, U.S. Geological Survey, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, MDNR, and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

BACKGROUND

  • The West Lake Landfill Superfund Site is located in Bridgeton, Mo., approximately 18 miles west of downtown St. Louis. The site consists of several inactive landfills, including the West Lake Landfill and the Bridgeton Landfill. Originally used for agriculture, the land became a limestone quarrying and crushing operation in 1939. In the early 1950s, portions of the quarried areas and adjacent areas were used to dispose of municipal refuse, industrial solid wastes, and construction/demolition debris. In 1973, around 8,700 tons of leached barium sulfate from the Manhattan Project, a World War II nuclear bomb development program, was mixed with approximately 38,000 tons of contaminated soil and used to cover trash being dumped during daily operations.
  • In 1990, EPA listed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) under the Comprehensive Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). The Agency listed the entire 200-acre facility and initially divided it into two areas, referred to as Operable Units (OUs). The West Lake Landfill Site includes both OU1, where radiologically-impacted material (RIM) was disposed, and OU2, where RIM is not located. In addition, EPA recently designated a third OU to specifically address groundwater.
  • Operable Unit 1 (OU1) - EPA Lead: OU1 is comprised of areas where the radiologically-contaminated material was used as daily cover for landfill operations. The PRPs include Bridgeton Landfill LLC, Rock Road Industries, Cotter Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2008, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for OU1 that selected an engineered cap and long-term monitoring. In 2009, at the request of environmental groups, EPA re-evaluated the remedial alternatives and required a supplemental feasibility study. In 2012, after consultation with EPA’s National Remedy Review Board (NRRB), EPA Region 7 required the PRPs to perform additional evaluations for a range of remedial alternatives. In 2015, EPA Region 7 required the PRPs to collect additional data to support the evaluation of the remedial alternatives.
  • Operable Unit 2 (OU2) –The OU2 ROD addresses three distinct areas:  the Bridgeton Landfill (North Quarry and South Quarry), the Closed Demolition Landfill, and the Inactive Sanitary Landfill.​
    • MDNR Lead:  EPA’s ROD deferred remediation of the Bridgeton Sanitary Landfill and the Closed Demolition Landfill to MDNR’s RCRA Subtitle D Solid Waste Regulatory Program and the terms of the solid waste permits. A subsurface smoldering event (SSE) has been ongoing in OU2 since 2010, and in 2013, the state of Missouri filed a lawsuit against Bridgeton Landfill for violations of state environmental laws, and required the company to monitor and address the movement of the SSE. EPA and MDNR continue to monitor data from the Bridgeton Landfill and closely coordinate on the status of the SSE and the actions being performed.
    • EPA Lead:  EPA’s 2008 ROD selected installation of a landfill cover meeting the Missouri closure requirements for sanitary landfills, groundwater monitoring, surface water and landfill gas control, and institutional controls for the Inactive Sanitary Landfill.

SUMMARY OF PRPs’ ACTIONS SINCE 2008 ROD

  • Participation in Consent Decree negotiations and preparation of the Remedial Design to implement the OU1 remedy. (2008) Consent Decree negotiations were suspended in June 2009.
  • Preparation of Supplemental Feasibility Study to include evaluation of full excavation with on-site disposal and full excavation with off-site disposal alternatives. (2011)
  • After EPA Region 7's consultation with the NRRB in 2012, PRPs prepared and submitted additional work plans to address issues raised by the NRRB. (2012-2015)
  • Collection of additional groundwater data. (2012-2014)
  • Implementation of actions to prevent potential risks that could occur if the Bridgeton Landfill SSE came into contact with the RIM in OU1, including preparation of an Isolation Barrier Alternatives Analysis; installation and operation of perimeter air monitoring system; bird mitigation plan; and additional subsurface sampling to further characterize the extent of RIM in the area between the West Lake Landfill and Bridgeton Landfill. (2014-2016)
  • Additional subsurface characterization in OU1 Area 1 and Area 2 to develop more accurate RIM volume estimates. Performance of additional sediment sampling. (2016)
  • Implementation of a removal action to address potential risks associated with surface fires, where RIM is located at or near the surface in OU1, including removal of vegetation and covering of those areas. (ongoing)
  • Implementation of a removal action to address concerns related to the SSE, including installation of heat extraction system in the neck area between the North and South Quarries; installation of additional temperature monitoring probes in the North Quarry; construction and operation for a period of one year of two sulfur dioxide air monitors around Bridgeton Landfill; and construction of a synthetic cover over the North Quarry. (ongoing)
  • Preparation of a Remedial Investigation Addendum to incorporate additional data collected since the 2008 ROD and a Final Feasibility Study to evaluate a full range of remedial alternatives to support EPA’s final OU1 remedy decision. (ongoing)

SUMMARY OF EPA ACTIONS SINCE 2008 ROD

  • Completion of airborne radiological and infrared surveys over the West Lake Landfill and surrounding areas in Bridgeton to identify areas of elevated gamma radiation, and to identify any heat signatures associated with the ongoing subsurface smoldering event in OU2. (2013)
  • Investigation of the Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex, based on community concerns regarding potential radioactive soils at a nearby athletic complex, consisted of collecting more than 100 soil samples and conducting a fence line-to-fence line overland gamma survey. (2014)
  • Installation and operation of five continuous air monitoring stations for radionuclide particulates, radon, gamma exposure, landfill gas constituents, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). (2014 – 2015)
  • Completion of bench-scale laboratory tests to evaluate the potential effects of a pyrolytic event on radon emanation from RIM in Area 1, due to concerns related to the SSE in the Bridgeton Landfill. (2016)
  • Sampling of two homes in the Spanish Village Subdivision, due to community concerns related to a third-party lawsuit alleging Manhattan Project waste had been found to be present inside homes. (2016 - Present)
  • Investment in a robust community engagement strategy for the site, including technical assistance for the Community Action Group and a publically-available EPA "touchdown" station at Bridgeton City Hall.

INTERESTED PARTIES/STAKEHOLDERS

  • Numerous congressional, media, and community members have expressed a significant interest in the upcoming final remedy decision for the site, and many are seeking full excavation of the RIM. 
  • Bipartisan legislation (S. 1211 and H.R. 2632) has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate and House to transfer remediation authority and control of the cleanup to the USACE FUSRAP program. In November 2015, Missouri Senators Blunt and McCaskill and Missouri Representatives Wagner and Clay introduced similar bipartisan legislation that passed the Senate by unanimous consent in February 2016. The prior administration and the USACE did not support the legislation, based on the potential delay of the cleanup and financial impact on taxpayers.
  • Legislation was introduced, but ultimately did not pass, in the Missouri Legislature that would allow certain homeowners to sell their home to MDNR.
  • The city of St. Louis, as owner of the nearby St. Louis Airport, has expressed concern regarding the potential for bird strike hazards to aircraft navigation associated with excavation of site waste.

CONCLUSION

  • Since the time EPA agreed to reconsider the 2008 ROD for OU1, tremendous progress has been achieved at the site. All potential short-term threats have been addressed through the use of CERCLA removal actions, site investigations to define the lateral and vertical extent of RIM have been completed, and substantial progress has been made on the Remedial Investigation Addendum, Baseline Risk Assessment, Final Feasibility Study, and associated technical documents needed to support a final decision.
  • In addition, EPA has performed off-site investigations to address public concerns about possible off-site exposures, and has collected a large body of perimeter and off-site air data. These efforts have included an extensive off-site air monitoring program, characterization of the Bridgeton Municipal Athletic Complex, and the recent Bridgeton Residential Investigation. In all cases, the scientifically validated data demonstrate no current off-site exposures to RIM from the site.
  • EPA is nearing completion of its remedy review process. We are in a critical stage of reviewing complex technical documents needed to support the final remedy decision. This is a multi-agency effort to engage the best expertise, and to ensure a scientifically sound and thorough review.