The as the nation moves into the third week of the government shutdown, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to be at a standstill at West Lake Landfill. The North St. Louis County Superfund site is located in Bridgeton, but the illegally dumped radioactive waste impacts surrounding cities.
The EPA was to conduct gamma cone penetrometer testing at the site in order to locate radioactive contamination but notified Republic Services Inc., the landfill's owner, in a letter last week that it was suspending the testing because the agency couldn’t be on site to oversee the work due to the shutdown. It described a "funding hiatus due to a lack of an appropriations act or continuing resolution."
The testing is a precursor to installation of a firebreak the federal government and Republic Services hopes will protect radioactive material buried at West Lake from possible exposure to an underground fire at the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill. The fire is inching its way towards West Lake.
In August the Missouri Department of Natural Resources requested more temperature monitors be added at Bridgeton Landfill to monitor the underground fire. See: DNR Required Added Temperature Monitors at Bridgeton Landfill
Republic announced its intent to construct the barrier between the fire and radioactive waste at West Lake last month.Moving Forward
Republic is moving forward with its action plan for the fire. On October 11, the company posted a letter on the Bridgeton Landfill website, that it would be installing the tank floors for four, 1 million gallon tanks and 40 percent of the roof on the first tank that are part of the planned leachate pre-treatment system.
The team also worked on improving leachate collection by upgrading lines and installing new ones. And, progress continued on installing the advanced ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) liner system in the South Quarry. Republic said its team is more than halfway finished with installing the expansion of its advanced EVOH liner system in the South Quarry. When finished, it will cover approximately 42 acres, including the entire South Quarry waste and surrounding land on each side.
The EVOH system consists of two layers of High Density Polyethylene liner with a layer of EVOH in the middle.
Republic said the new system will be effective at controlling odors the previous did not.
This week Republic said it hopes its team can complete the installation of an additional EVOH cap.