2016-02-09 – West Lake Landfill – AG Koster letter to Congressman Clay and Congresswoman Wagner supporting request to transfer WLL to FUSRAP

2016-02-09 - West Lake Landfill - AG Koster letter to Congressman Clay and Congresswoman Wagner supporting request to transfer WLL to FUSRAP

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Washington, DC 20515
Congresswoman Ann Wagner
435 Cannon
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Congressman Congresswoman Wagner,
from the Environmental ,_,.,.,.,.,,””,.. .. -,
Action Program” (or “FUSRAP”) …, …… uuuu~…,,
Because the EPA has proven itself an
West Lake I I encourage
outlined 4100 and S. 2306 and prioritize
House of Representatives.
past three years, my
aggressively to a solution to
Landfill-a problem vAll~vv.1.
Bridgeton Landfill. For example, office
West Lake site to
contamination, anticipation of construction of an
call for testing and expedited construction
March, and August 14, and 2015.
In response our repeated calls to
promises failed to deliver results. For
stated it was with
construction was expected to
passed with no discernable movement toward a
letters, sent
(573) 751-3321
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001696
Similarly, in February 2015, the EPA reported taking steps
characterizing radiological at also
testing, which would provide valuable information regarding the potential consequences
of letting fire at the Bridgeton reach the radiological at West Lake.
A year passed, yet EPA still has not announced the results its site
characterization, nor does it appear that the pyrolysis testing has been completed.
All the while, the continues to Experts by my office have raised
questions regarding whether and how long the safeguards installed
Bridgeton landfill can continue to progress toward West Lake.
Additionally, a troubling report released by Missouri Department of Natural
Resources last month corroborated concerns originally identified by my experts
radiological contamination may be present outside the perimeter of fenced-in landfill.
burning radioactive waste dump requires government act with urgency, but
seems unable to move forward with a meaningful solution. The Corps of Engineers,
through FUSRAP, has experience dealing with contaminated sites. I hope that experience
will enable the Corps, if given primary jurisdiction over this site and the necessary
funding, to quickly design and implement a remedial solution to improve the health and
quality of life of the Missourians who live, work, and go to school near West
Lake and Bridgeton Landfills.
cc: Senator Roy
Senator Claire McCaskill
Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver
Congressman Graves
Congressman Billy Long
Congressman Jason Smith
Attorney General
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001697
Karl Brooks
Environmental Protection Agency
Regional Administrator, Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
Dear Regional Administrator Brooks,
November 27, 2013
P.O. Box see
(573) 751-3321
The State of Missouri has received a Phase I Status Report detailing the preliminary
results of the Gamma Cone Penetrometer Testing that EPA has required in preparation for the
installation of an isolation barrier at the Westlake site in Bridgeton, Missouri. After reviewing
the report, the State is concerned about some of the raw data summaries, which suggest the
presence of higher-than-background-level radioactivity at depth outside the area where previous
maps represented the radioactive material was located.
In light of this new preliminary data, it is critically imp01tant that EPA direct the
completion of a comprehensive survey of the Westlake site to determi11e with certainty the
boundary lines encompassing the radioactive material. The implementation of.engineering
controls, including the isolation barrier intended to separate the radioactive material in Westlake
from the smoldering event in the Bridgeton landfill, depends on an accurate picture of the
radiological profile of the site. The State calls upon EPA to commence this comprehensive
smvey without delay.
In addition, due to the importance of this data and the high level of public interest in the
site, the State strongly encomages EPA to make the information publicly available as soon as
EPA validates the data for accuracy.
We look forward to hearing from you and continuing to work with you in addressing the
difficult challenges ahead.
Attorney General.
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001698
· .
. .
. ·._·.• …
Karl Brooks
Environmental Protection Agency
Regional Administrator, Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
January 8, 2014
Dear Regional Administrator Brooks,
(573) 751-3321
For more than nine months now, our office has worked with the Missouri
Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and EPA in addressing a matter of great
public concern-the underground fire at the Bridgeton landfill and its proximity to
the radioactive material at the adjacent West Lake site. While the landfill is
supervised by the State and West Lake is within federal jurisdiction, it is important
that regulators at all levels continue to communicate openly and effectively with
each other and with the public. We have demanded that Republic Services take
substantial steps toward mitigating the landfill fire, and significant work has
already been done. I write today to encourage a similarly aggressive approach to the
West Lake side of the problem and to better understand EPA’s timetable and its
contingency plan should the situation worsen.
Since our office became involved in this matter last spring, we have moved
rapidly to compel Republic Services to get control over the fire in the Bridgeton
landfill. We filed suit against Republic less than a week after receiving a referral on
this matter from DNR, seeking injunctive relief and monetary penalties. By
Memorial Day, we had negotiated a preliminary injunctive agreement that required
the company to install protective measures, including an ethylene vinyl alcohol
(EVOH) cap and gas interceptor wells, in an effort to slow the spread of the fire.
Before the summer ended, the wells were in place and the southern portion of the
landfill had been covered. Republic subsequently agreed to cap the remainder of the
landfill (the north quarry), and work on that project is expected to be completed by
May 30, 2014.
While much has been accomplished to better manage the fire at the
Bridgeton landfill, progress toward securing the radioactive material at the
federally supervised West Lake site has, to this point, been less visible. Republic
www.ago.mo .gov
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001699
Karl Brooks
January 8, 2014
Page 2
agreed in September to construct an isolation barrier between the West Lake and
Bridgeton landfill sites, yet it appears that the company is still conducting a survey
of the area in advance of any construction. We appreciate that EPA has urged
Republic to expedite this process, but the seriousness of the West Lake issue
requires that regulators set an aggressive timetable for Republic to complete the
barrier installation and demand that its deadlines be met. With that in mind, we
ask that EPA identify when it expects the comprehensive radiological survey will be
completed and, further, when it expects Republic to complete the construction of the
isolation barrier.
No matter how ambitious the construction schedule is, of course, we must
recognize that circumstances may change. We cannot be certain that the spread of
the fire in the Bridgeton landfill will not accelerate or that a new fire will not
spontaneously develop in the north quarry near the West Lake boundary line. As
the regulatory agency with supervisory authority over the West Lake site, EPA
must be prepared to react quickly should it become apparent that the isolation
barrier cannot be constructed in time to prevent the fire from reaching the
radioactive waste. We ask that the EPA make public its contingency plan in the
event that the construction of the isolation barrier becomes infeasible.
The people who live, work, and travel in the Bridgeton area deserve swift
action from the State and from EPA as we address the complex challenges posed by
the landfill and West Lake site. We are grateful for your team’s efforts thus far, and
we look forward to further cooperation between our respective agencies as our work
Attorney General
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001700
Karl Brooks
Regional Administrator
Environmental Protection Agency
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, KS 66219
Dear Administrator Brooks,
March 18, 2014
(573) 751·3321
One year ago, my Office filed a lawsuit against Republic Services alleging a series of
environmental-law violations relating to events at the West Lake landfill complex. The suit
seeks to accomplish two primary objectives. First, the suit aims to hold Republic responsible for
the alleged violations of applicable environmental laws. Second, and more importantly, the suit
aims to compel Republic to move swiftly in preventing the subsurface fire in the south quarry of
the Bridgeton landfill from migrating northward and reaching the radioactive material deposited
in Operable Unit 1 (OU-1). Over the past year, Republic has taken steps to slow the spread of
the fire, but recent developments suggest that these measures do not address the entire problem.
It now appears that radioactive material from OU-1 may be spread more widely than originally
thought and may be present in the north quarry of the Bridgeton landfill. Republic and EPA
must act aggressively to address this apparent relocation.
Last fall, after initial reports indicated that radioactive material was found in sections of
OU-1 that were previously thought to be unaffected by radiological deposits, EPA agreed to
order a comprehensive survey of the area to determine the true boundary of radioactive
contamination. We understand preliminary tests have found radioactive material not only
outside the originally identified “radioactive perimeter,” but beyond the southern edge of OU-1
itself, into the north quarry of the Bridgetonland:fill.
Expedited radiological testing: The possible relocation of radioactive material from
OU-1 into the Bridgeton landfill highlights the need for EPA and Republic to accelerate their
surveying and engineering efforts to ensure the fire in the south and radioactive material in the
north never meet. In particular, the need for a comprehensive remapping of the West Lake site
to definitively identify the extent of OU-1 ‘s radioactive contamination has never been clearer.
We ask that EPA and Republic expedite their work to complete this project as quickly as
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001701
Karl Brooks
March 18, 2014
Page 2
Federal authority over OU-l’s radiological deposits: The entire West Lake I
Bridgeton landfill complex was long-ago designated a Superfund site under federal control. To
date, EPA has limited its exercise of regulatory jurisdiction to the defined Operable Units at
West Lake, and it deferred its oversight of the remainder of the Bridgeton landfill to the
Missouri Department of Natural Resources. But the developing information indicating the
spread of OU-1 ‘s radioactive material suggests this division of legal authority may require a
change. EPA expressly deferred its legal authority regarding solid-waste facility closure and
post-closure of the Bridgeton landfill to the State only because that portion was thought to be
untainted by OU-1 ‘s radioactive waste. It is the federal government-whether EPA exclusively
or EPA working in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers-that is vested with the legal
authority and the resources to direct remediation of sites containing 0 U-1 ‘s radioactive waste. If
radioactive material from OU-1 is confirmed to be located in the Bridgeton landfill, legal
authority oyer the contaminated site must shift back from the State to the federal government.
Rapid construction of isolation barrier: Last September, Republic announced its
intention to build an isolation barrier to separate the radiological material in OU-1 from the
smoldering :fire in the southern part of the Bridgeton landfill. Over six months have passed, yet
construction of the barrier still has not begun. Although we acknowledge that essential
surveying is still underway, the ongoing site testing need not prevent construction from
commencing, at least in part. As EPA completes its radiological profile of the site, we ask that it
also finish its review of Republic’s proposed plan to construct the isolation barrier and, upon
identifying a sound design, direct that construction begin without delay.
The State’s highest priority is to protect the health and safety of its residents. Even if
circumstances require that EPA reassert its legal authority over the entire West Lake site, the
State will continue its work in validating data, offering comments to remedial plans, and
providing whatever other support may be needed. We look forward to working with EPA and
Republic in taking the steps necessary to isolate the radioactive waste from the landfill fire and .
thereby give the people in Bridgeton and its surrounding communities the security and peace of
mind they deserve.
Attorney General
cc: Bill Beck, General Counsel, Republic Services
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001702
Karl Brooks
Regional Administrator
US EPA Region 7
11201 Reimer Blvd_
Lenexa, KS 66219
August 11, 2014
Dear Administrator Brooks:
P.O. Box: 899
(573) 751-3321
In the First Agreed Order that my Office reached with Republic Services (“Republic”)
over a year ago, the St Louis County Circuit Court ordered Republic to implement a number of
protective measures to control the spread of the subsurface smoldering event (“SSE”), reduce
odors caused by the smoldering refuse, and separate the burning trash from the radiologically
impacted material deposited at the north end of the West Lake site. While significant work has
been done and is ongoing in an effort to control the fire and mitigate odors, little visible
progress has been made toward constructing.the isolation barrier aimed to keep the SSE from
reaching radiological waste. As the construction of the isolation barrier depends on the detection
and handling of radioactive material, any work on the project necessarily requires EPA
oversight and approval.
We recognize that the design and construction of the isolation barrier is an enormously
complicated task, and we appreciate the involvement of the Army Corps of Engineers, who
bring special expertise to engineering projects of this complexity. We also understand that the
implementation of any isolation-barrier design depends on the review and approval of LarnbertSt
Louis International Airport (“Airport”), which is responsible for ensuring that any planned
excavation or construction will not draw large numbers of birds and put air traffic at risk.
We understand that the Corps has analyzed a number of alternatives for placement of the
isolation barrier. In the interest of moving this project forward in a timely fashion, we ask that
EPA adopt the following schedule:
• Within 30 days, EPA, in conjunction with the Corps, presents its formal analysis
of the isolation-barrier alignment alternatives to Republic and to the Airport.
• Within 45 days following Republic’s receipt of the analysis, Republic submits its
alignment selection to EPA and to the Airport, which must include sufficient
design specifications to allow EPA, the Corps, and the Airport to evaluate the
• Within 45 days following the Airport’s receipt of Republic’s proposal, the
Airport announces whether it will consent to the proposal in light of its concerns
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001703
regarding the risks excavation and construction at the landfill may pose to flights
due to increased bird activity.
• If the Airport approves the proposal, EPA announces within 30 days of approval
whether it approves the proposal.
• If the proposal is not approved, Republic submits a modified proposal to EPA,
the Corps, and the Airport within 30 days, taking into account the comments and
concerns raised.
As always, the health and safety of the public, including those who live and work around
the landfill and those who rely on the Airport to provide safe flights, is our highest priority. We
remain frustrated with the slow pace of progress thus far. It is critically important that all
participants in this project move with greater dispatch to ensure that all members of the public
are protected.
Attorney General

WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001704
Karl Brooks
Environmental Protection Agency
Regional Administrator, Region 7
11201 Renner Blvd.
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
February 18, 2015
Dear Regional Administrator Brooks,
(573) 751-3321
Thank you for your letter of February 9, 2015, updating our office on the EPA’s
recent directive regarding the Bridgeton Landfill / Westlake site. As you ’11 recall,
completing a comprehensive radiological characterization of the site was one of the three
action items discussed at our last meeting, and we appreciate the progress update and
your assurance that the work will proceed on an enforceable schedule.
We note also that, consistent with the second action item, EPA has secured
Bridgeton Landfill’s agreement to maintain soil corings and make them available for
EPA’s intended pyrolysis testing. Our recollection was that EPA expected that testing to
require five to six months to complete. Please keep us up to date on the progress of that
Finally, our colleagues from the Army Corps of Engineers suggested at our
meeting that an EVOH cover and gas extraction system could be explored as a potential
method to capture radon emissions that might occur as a consequence of the subsurface
fire at the landfill. As a third action item, we asked that EPA, in conjunction with the
ACOE, analyze the feasibility and probable effectiveness of installing such a system at
the Bridgeton Landfill/ Westlake site. Please let us know where things stand on that
We understand that scientific testing takes time to properly conduct. Yet, as we
have indicated before, the people of Missouri, particularly those who live, work, and go
to school near the landfill, are troubled by uncertainty surrounding the site and are eager
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001705
Karl Brooks
February 18, 2015
Page 2
for answers. We look forward to receiving the results of the above-mentioned tests and
analyses as soon as they are available.
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WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001706
2/812016 Army Corps of Engineers to work on burning Bridgeton Landfill : News
– –
Army Corps of Engineers to work on burning Bridgeton
The Anny Corps of Engineers will help build an isolation barrier between an underground
fire at the Bridgeton landfill and radioactive materials in the adjacent West Lake Landfill,
according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
“The EPA intends soon to conclude an agreement with the United States Anny Corps of
Engineers to enlist Corps construction expertise for the isolation barrier to separate West
Lake from the (subsurface smoldering event),” EPA region seven administrator Karl Brooks
wrote in a letter Friday to Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
Construction on the barrier is expected to start within 90 days, Brooks said.
Koster urged the EPA this week to move quickly on the barrier. That move came one year
after Koster sued the landfills’ owner Republic Services, alleging violations of environmental
laws. Republic’s efforts to keep the fire from spreading “do not address the entire problem”
because additional radioactive material has been discovered closer to the fire, Koster said.
The Cold War-era nuclear waste was dumped illegally about 40 years ago and was
previously thought to be contained in West Lake. Early results from an EPA study show the
materials were found beyond the original perimeter and in the north section of the
Bridgeton landfill. The underground fire is in the south section.
Environmental groups and nearby residents have long called for the Army Corps of
Engineers to take over the cleanup of the Superfund site. The Corps has worked on other
nuclear waste cleanup projects around Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and
Coldwater Creek. Recently, several organizations, including St. Louis County, the cities of
Bridgeton and Maryland Heights and the Pattonville School District have supported such a
move. Missouri’s congressional delegation also called on the EPA to work with the Corps on
West Lake.
“I understand there’s a strong desire for action and that action is moving forward very
quickly,” Brooks said, adding that the EPA will retain authority over the site through its
Superfund program. “This is not a transfer to the Corps. This is an assist to EPA”
A spokesman for Republic Services said the company is committed to the construction of the
barrier when the regulatory authorities approve such a plan.
“The safety of both sites has always been our highest priority,” said Richard Callow.
http://www.stltoday.com/nev.1si1ocal/m etralarmy-corps-of-engi neers-to-work-on-burni ng-bri dgeton-landfi 11/articl e _ c914db0e-Oee4-50ca-a7 a2-53c565df2286.ht. . . 1 /1
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001707
FEB 13 20t5
The Honorable Chris Koster
Attorney General of Missouri
P.O. Box 899
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Dear Mr. Koster:
LENEXA, KS 66219
FEB 0 9 2015 OFFICE OF
I am pleased to report that the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 has obtained agreement
from the West Lake Landfill Superfund site potentially responsible parties to gather additional data to
support identifying the nature and extent of Radiologically Impacted Materials contamination south and
west of the previously-defined boundaries of Operable Unit 1, Area 1. This Agency expects to receive
the work plan from the parties detailing this effort by the end of February, and the EPA will ensure this
work proceeds on an enforceable schedule. Bridgeton Landfill also provided written confirmation that
soil corings from the previous Phase 1 investigatory work have been maintained and can be made
available for the EPA’s proposed pyrolysis testing.
The EPA will continue to coordinate our efforts with the state of Missouri to ensure our respective data
collection activities at the Bridgeton Landfill and West Lake Landfill Superfund site support the mutual
goal of RIM identification and monitoring of the subsurface smoldering event.
Thank you for your and your staff’s excellent efforts to inform this agency about developments
connected with your office’s work on the Bridgeton Landfill. I have appreciated your timeliness and
Karl Brooks
WLLFOIA4312 – 001 – 0001708