Remove All Radioactive Materials From Landfill

Target: Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the EPA

Goal: Remove all radioactive material from West Lake Landfill.

Potentially hazardous radioactive waste will be unearthed by the EPA and only partially cleaned up. The 8,700 tons of radioactive material from weapons research during World War I was mixed with 39,000 tons of soil and dumped at the West Lake Landfill in Missouri. Radioactive materials dumped onto the site include radium, uranium, and barium — all of which are detrimental to environmental and human health. After years of inaction and discussing options, the EPA is proposing a partial excavation and disposal, which administrator Scott Pruitt says is enough to protect community health. However, many are disappointed at the band-aid solution.

From 2008 until now, the EPA and the responsible parties have conducted research, including groundwater sampling and air monitoring, to determine the best course of action. They considered capping the amount of waste to limit exposure to above-ground elements, and even a full excavation and off-site disposal, which would cost around $695 million. The EPA chose a 16ft partial excavation which will cost around $236 million and could take 5-10 years to implement. The so-called Excavation Plus plan includes installing a cover system to provide long-term protection.

Community members and officials are relieved that the EPA finally recognizes the danger of the radioactive materials and the need to dispose of it, but there is an equal number that says partial excavation is not enough. At 40-80 feet, radiation occurs, but Pruitt claims this poses no health risk. However, it is known that the unlined landfill sits over a gravel layer, which is problematic because radiation can then seep into the water systems, especially with the Missouri River less than two miles away.

The responsible parties are advocating for a more cost-effective plan that will only cover the waste, but if communities’ lives and the environment are at stake, then money should not be prioritized. Help the communities around West Lake and save the environment by signing the petition below.


Dear Mr. Pruitt,

As you know, the communities surrounding West Lake Landfill in Missouri have been waiting decades for a solution to the radioactive wastes and materials that are continuously dumped into the landfill. This landfill poses a significant community and environmental health risk. By choosing the partial excavation option, you are sentencing the communities around West Lake and near the Missouri River to a lifetime of airborne and water seepage contamination.

The proposal is a compromise between the community members’ wishes and industrial interests, but you cannot put human and environmental health on the back burner. These communities have lived in fear and ambiguity for too long. Now you have the chance to ensure their health and their safety from radioactivity. Furthermore, you have the chance to ensure that the water and air are not contaminated in Missouri and beyond. Water and air systems are not bounded by state or national lines, and what you decide here affects the rest of the nation and the rest of the world. I hope you reconsider this proposal and recommend a full excavation with off-site disposal.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Natural News

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