Missouri Eco-Crisis Heating Up As Landfill Fire Creeps Towards Nuclear Waste Dump

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Catherine Kuhn Sep 30, 2015

”We can no longer afford...to discard the bad and simply think of it as a dead load which by itself time will bury in oblivion.” -Hannah Arendt

At the Bridgeton landfill outside of St. Louis, MO, an underground fire the size of 15 football fields has been smoldering at over 200°F since 2010. Less than a thousand feet away from this creeping inferno lies 8,700 tons of radioactive remnants from the Manhattan Project. In January 2015, the EPA claimed the radioactive contamination was safely contained, but this month the Missouri Attorney General released reports showing the radiation, just like the fire, has moved past the landfill perimeter.

Trees outside the landfill show radiologic contamination and nearby groundwater wells have high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Despite the fact that the Missouri Department of Health and and Senior Services reports a 4.7% higher cancer rate than expected based on state average for the 8 zipcodes adjoining the site, Republic Services, the landfill management company, continues to claim the site is safe. 

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