1980-11-17 – MDNR – West Lake Landfill – Reason for contamination in northermost area of West Lake Landfill unknown at this time


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Westlake Landfill, located in Bridgeton Missouri (St. Louis County) has been the
subject of recent inquiry. This landfill began operation prior to state regulation.
As far as our records show, this landfill first opened in the med-1960’s. Part
of the landfill lies in an old quarry and part of the landfill lies in the Missouri
River floodplain, approximately 1 1/2 miles from the river. Witnesses to this
operation, when the area of the landfill which lies in the floodplain was in
operation, note that the fill area was often actually beneath the level of the
water table. Leachate from the old quarry area of the landfill is collected and
hauled to MSD treatment plants. Construction of onsite treatment is underway.
About 48,000 gallons of leachate per day is currently being collected.
Aside from normal landfill materials, there are chemical industrial wastes and
radiologically contaminated materials deposited in this landfill. The chemical
wastes, that we know of, include about 4,000 tons of residues from the production
of insecticides and herbicides. These pesticide wastes were deposited .by Chevron
Chemical Company. Also included in the chemical wastes are waste materials from
ink manufacture and from the manufacture of glue. Among the chemical wastes that
we know of in Westlake Landfill are:
waste ink pigments oily sludges
esters alcohols insecticides
halogenated intermediates -wastewater sludges aromatics
oils -asbestos herbicides
heavy metals
In addition to the hazardous chemical wastes in Westlake Landfill, there are
radioactive wastes. During early 1973 Cotter Corporation buried radioactive Barium
Sulfate Slag material and rad.iologically contaminated building rubble. There are
approximately 43,000 tons of this material which contain about 7,000 tons of natural
Uranium. •
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In October, 1977, an aerial radiological ‘survey was done to determine the location
of the burial of this contaminated material (see attached map). ‘It was determined
from the aerial survey that there are two areas within the landfill which are
emitting abnormally high levels of radiation. The southermost area is the
result of the burial of contaminated Barium Sulfate Slag from the Mallinkrodt area
of the Destrehen street Uranium processing plant. (This facility in downtown St.
Louis is where material for the original nuclear weapons tests was produced.)
The northermost area contamination is on the edge of the floodplain area which is
the boundary of neighboring farmland. The reason for its elevated gamma radiation
is unknown at this time. The U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has contracted
Radiation Management Corporation to do extensive on-site radiological surveys
which include groundwater analysis, core sampling, test boring, and other tests
as deemed necessary. This study should determine the reason for the elevated gamma
radiation (see attached NRC announcement).
Geological reports from DNR’s Division of Geology and Land Survey indicated that
the local groundwater flows Northeast from the landfill into the Missouri River
alluvial floodplain. Therefore, it is highly probably that leachate from the
landfill is contaminating local wells and entering the waters of the Missouri River.
As a result, DNR has initiated sampling and monitoring activities. On September
20 and October 1, 1980, a groundwater investigation was conducted in the vicinity
of the Westlake Landfill. Two monitoring wells on the landfill site and three
provate wells located Northwest of the landfill were sampled (see attached report).
The Division of Geology and Land Survey groundwater experts have evaluated data
from this sampling and determined that levels of several pollutants were significantly
higher than what ‘one would expect as background levels. Chloride, Sodium,
Lead, and Manganese showed particularly high levels. Except for Manganese, the
levels were not in violation of drinking water standards, but were high enough for
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concern.* Because of this concern, additional sampling is being conducted in
the last week of October.
Since the NRC will be conducting investigations on radioactive contamination,
DNR has requested permission to use some of their facilities to aid in our hazardous
chemical waste investigation.
The NRC has given DNR verbal permission to utilize the monitoring wells which
Radiation Management Corporation will be digging, in order that DNR may test for
the presence of chemical hazardous wastes. On October 1, 1980 DNR sent a written
request to the NRC asking for written confirmation of this permission. No reply
has been received yet.
All data collected so far has been given to the St. Louis County Health Department
for review and possible action regarding drinking water supplies.
* Manganese levels violate a secondary drinking water standard which is not a
health related standard.
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