1989-12-22 – Comments to the Proposed Addition of Westlake Landfill, Bridgeton, Missouri to the National Priorities List


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December 22;, 1989

Mr. Larry Reed
Acting Dire’ctor, Hazardous Site Evaluation Division
(Attention: NPL Staff)
Office of Emergency and Remedial Response
United States Environmental Protection Agency
401 M Street, N.W.
Washington,1 D.C. 20460


Re: Comments to the Proposed Addition of “Westlake Landfill,
Bridgeton, Missouri” to the National Priorities List: 54 Fed.
Reg. |43778 (Oct. 26, 1989)

Dear Mr. Reed:

These comments are submitted by Scott I. Schreiber on behalf of
Laidlaw Waste Systems (“Laidlaw”), to the United States
Environmental Protection Agency’s to address the proposal to place
the “Westlake Landfill, Bridgeton, Missouri” site on the National
Priorities List (“NFL”) are submitted. See. 54 Fed. Reg. 43778
(Oct. 26, 1989). The comments are submitted for the following
reasons: !

to clarify Laidlaw’s association with the “Westlake
Landfill, Bridgeton, Missouri” NPL site (the “site”).

to request that the name of this proposed site be changed
tp the “Rock Road Industries site” so as to more
accurately reflect the location and nature of the U.S.
EPA’s concerns at the site. See e.g., 52 Fed. Reg. 27631
(July 22, 1987) ;

to emphasize the conclusion reached by studies
commissioned by the United States Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (“NRC”) that the proposed site does not present
an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health
or the environment. ‘——————————————————


2340 S. Arlington Heights Road, Suite 230, Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005 (708) 439-6686
Mr. Larry Reed
December 22, 1989 page 2

1. Factual Background

The name “Westlake Landfill” had at one time been used to
describe a:200 acre waste disposal area in Bridgeton, Missouri,
documents in the hazardous ranking system (“HRS”) docket reveal that
uranium ore processing residues and soil were placed in the
“Westlake Landfill” by the Cotter Corporation in 1973. See.
Radioactive Materials in the Westlake Landfill, U.S. Nuclear
Regulatory Commission, June, 1988, p. 3. At the time of the
disposal of the uranium waste, the operator of the site was the
Westlake Landfill Inc., 13570 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton,
Missouri, Registered Agent, Mr. Francis Baldwin. Id., p. 3, 11.

In 1974, a new sanitary landfill was opened and continues to
operate in .the vicinity of the site. The new landfill was
constructed with state of the art waste disposal technology and is
protected from groundwater contact. The bottom of the new landfill
is lined with clay and leachate collection systems have been
installed. Id., p. 3.

In 1988, Laidlaw acquired this operational portion of the
Westlake Landfill from the following parties: (1) John L. May, in
his capacity as Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis; (2)
the Shrine of St. Jude, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation; and

(3) the Society for the Propagation of the Faith of the Archdiocese’,
a Missouri not-for-profit corporation, (collectively the “Sellers”):.
Although two areas denominated as Areas 1 and 2 have been identified
as containing radiological material, Laidlaw did not acquire any
interest whatsoever in Areas 1 and 2. Those areas are now largely |
owned by Rock Road Industries, Inc., in conjunction with certain ;
religious and/or charitable not-for-profit institutions. Neither \
Laidlaw, nor any of its affiliated corporations have ever owned, or
had any responsibility for, Areas 1 and 2.

The property currently operated by Laidlaw is, and always has ‘•
been, an environmentally sound waste disposal operation. The HRS
docket documents and previous studies of the area support this fact.
Significantly, the HRS docket reveals: i

i !

(1) The Summary Report “Radioactive Materials in the Westlake ;
Landfill” prepared by the NRC in June 1988 (NRC Summary
Report) states that the operating landfill is protected
from groundwater contact. The landfill is lined with clay
and leachate collection systems are utilized. NRC Summary,
Report, p. 3.

Mr. Larry Reed

December 22, 1989 page 3

(2) A recent hydro-geologic investigation of the site and its
surroundings found that the current landfill operation was
being conducted in a deep quarry constructed in bedrock
formation. The landfill operation incorporates leachate
collection, treatment and monitoring. Based on these
findings, the investigation concluded that the operating
landfill was not even an appropriate target for inquiry.
Hydrogeologic Investigation, West Lake Landfill Primary
Phase Report, October 1986, p. IN-1.

2. Name of Site

Areas 1 and 2 are owned by entities other than Laidlaw and its
subsidiary corporations. The Laidlaw operations consist of
Laidlaw Waste Systems (Bridgeton), Inc. which was formerly known as
the Westlake Landfill, Inc. As a practical matter the Laidlaw Waste
Systems operations are often referred to as “the Westlake Landfill.”
However, the former Westlake Landfill, Inc. does not own property
or operate businesses at Areas 1 and 2. Therefore, denominating the
proposed NPL site as the “Westlake Landfill” does not accurately
describe the true areas of U.S. EPA’s concern.

Confusion of an environmentally sound, properly operated solid
waste disposal facility with the areas identified in U.S. EPA’s MRS
docket could be deleterious to Laidlaw and achieve no environmental
policy objective. Therefore, since the areas identified in the MRS
scoring and docket are owned by Rock Road Industries, Laidlaw joins
with the comments submitted on behalf of Archbishop John L. May, the
Roman Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis in the
comments on re-naming this site. Laidlaw requests that the site,
should the listing be promulgated as final, be under the name “Rock
Road Industries.”

3. HRS Scoring and Risk

Laidlaw also joins in, and incorporates herewith, the comments
submitted on behalf of Archbishop May regarding scoring and risk
relative to this proposed site. The HRS score inaccurately assigned
certain elevated values to scoring parameters, thereby creating an
HRS score slightly above 28.5. Further, the HRS docket documents
reveal that the contaminants at the proposed site are essentially
stable and do not pose an imminent or substantial endangerment to
human health or the environment.

Mr. Larry Reed

December 22, 1989 page 4

Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ investigations in the
vicinity of the proposed site reveal minimal ground water use. MDNR
Memorandum, June 30, 1989. Only one well is located within a one
mile radius of the site, and the nearest drinking water well is 1.4
miles from’the site. Nevertheless, the HRS for “ground water use”
and “distance to nearest well.” The maximum scores for ground water
use and distance are not supported by the actual use of ground water
in the vicinity. A reformulated HRS score of the site based on more
realistic ground water use values would be less than the regulatory
minimum score of 28.5.

This result is further mandated by the low level risk posed by
the proposed site. The extensive NRC studies and investigation of
the proposed site over the past several years reveal little or no
immediate risk. The NRC has concluded^that “there is no indication
that significant quantities of contaminants are moving off-site at
this time.” NRC Radiological Survey of the Westlake Landfill, May
1982, p. 1 ‘Abstract. Furthermore, off-site sampling conducted by
the NRC investigation detected no exceedences of U.S. EPA standards.
Id P-. 16. Consequently, the NRC has consistently concluded that
“the contamination (at the site) does not present an immediate
health hazard…” NRC Site Characterization, 1989, p. ix.

In summary, Laidlaw respectfully requests that U.S. EPA take
notice of the facts surrounding Laidlaw’s association with the site,
and rename the proposed site “Rock Road Industries” to more
accurately ;reflect ownership of the site. Laidlaw further requests
that U.S. ;EPA adopt a corrected rescoring of this site that will .
more accurately reflect the minimal threat the site poses.

Respectfully submitted,

Scott Schreiber,
Regional Engineer