2013-05-23 – MCE – Letter to EPA – Underground Fire at West Lake

2013-05-23 - MCE - Letter to EPA - Underground Fire at West Lake

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May 23,2013
Karl Brooks
Regional Administrator, Region 7
Environmental Protection Agency
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
RE: West Lake/Bridgeton Landfill Superfund Site
Dear Mr. Brooks:
A subsurface landfill fire is burning in the proximity of nuclear weapons wastes in Bridgeton, Missouri.
The odor from the landfill fire has impacted tens of thousands of people and concern about it contacting
the nuclear weapons wastes is growing. The EPA announced in January the landfill fire was 1,200 feet
from the nuclear weapons wastes. In May, the Missouri Attorney General announced the landfill fire is
1,000 feet away from the nuclear weapons wastes. EPA employees have stated several times this year
that it is not possible for the landfill fire to reach the nuclear weapons wastes.
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment and the undersigned members of the adjacent communities
would love to be as confident as your staff that the fire will not reach the nuclear weapons wastes.
Please help us understand your position so that we may know our communities are safe. Please answer
our questions:
1. Can the EPA say with 100% confidence that the landfill fire will not reach the nuclear weapons
wastes? If yes, will the EPA explain to the community, in detail, the information it is using to
make this determination. If no, what is the EPA plan to ensure the fire does not reach the
nuclear weapons wastes?
2. How does EPA explain that the temperatures in the landfill past the interceptor wells are rising
above levels of concern- 170 degrees at several of the monitoring wells including at TMPS,
TMP13 and TMP14?
3. The EPA Remedial Investigation for the West Lake Landfill OU-1 (pg. 80) indicates that the
normal groundwater flow is toward the Missouri River. However, its normal flow was being
influenced by the leachate collection system in the adjacent landfill. It’s our understanding that
the leachate collection pumps have stopped working at the Bridgeton landfill. How will this
affect groundwater flow in the West Lake Landfill OU-1 Area 1 and 2?
WLLFOIA4312- 001 – 0058259
4. Is the EPA sampling groundwater between West Lake OU-1 and the Missouri River or anywhere
5. Will EPA provide the data on groundwater sampling locations, results, and plans?
6. How often is EPA sampling groundwater monitoring wells? What days did the EPA sample
groundwater at the site in 2012 and 2013? What is the schedule for groundwater sampling in
7. Groundwater plumes are often seen at superfund sites where soil has been contaminated with
chemicals. Soil is not the same as landfill waste. Would EPA expect to find a groundwater plume
in a heterogeneous mixture of materials such as can be found in the West Lake landfill?
8. How would groundwater behave in landfill material that might be different from how
groundwater would behave in a homogeneous material like soil?
9. What information would EPA need in order to predict groundwater movement in landfill
material with some degree of accuracy? Does the agency have this information?
10. Has the EPA conducted community interviews of “impacted communities” in the last 10 years? If
yes, does EPA have evidence to support that community interviews were conducted? If yes, how
have community interviews guided EPA response to community concerns? If no, what is the EPA
plan for conducting community interviews and when will people be notified?
11. In March, EPA told the public that it flew the Aspect plane over the area to measure airborne
radiological hazards. Where is the data from the Aspect plane?
12. Will EPA provide the raw data to the public?
13. What are the abilities and limitations of the ASPECT plane monitors?
14. Did the ASPECT plane conduct a thermal analysis ofthe landfill?
15. Who requested the ASPECT plane flyover?
16. Why was the ASPECT plane flown over?
17. Where did it take measurements?
18. Does the EPA have any air data on radon/radon daughters from north St. Louis?
Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.
Yours truly,
~~~t( ~F- fl_ 411-~
Kathleen Logan Smith, MCE Ed Smith, MCE Dawn Chapman, Maryland Heights
Bob Nowlin, Bridgeton
WLLFOIA4312- 001 – 0058260
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