Bridgeton – If you worked or lived anywhere near the controversial Bridgeton West Lake landfill and observed dumping there, you are asked to contact Heather Navarro, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment at 314-727-0600, requests Pat Kammer, business manager of Operating Engineers Local 513, whose offices are within smelling distance of the site.
The new concern of residents and businesses in the area, besides the terrible smell caused by raging underground fires at the Bridgeton Landfill, is the possibility that the fires will reach a radioactive waste dump site at the adjacent West Lake Landfill, a federal Superfund site.
“A lot of hot material was dumped into the West Lake site; no one knows for sure what’s in there besides the radioactive wastes we know are there,” Kammer said.
“And we’re concerned that the people who worked there could be having severe medical issues; we need to identify them so that, hopefully, their story will help bring a positive resolution to this crisis and they can get some help,” he added.
Almost 200 people attended a meeting at Local 513’s hall June 15 to meet the legal team that includes Erin Brockovich who was featured in the 2000 film by the same name where water contamination was the issue.
An attorney for the firm, Thomas Girardi, said they would be prepared to file a lawsuit within 60 days.
While the Environmental Protection Agency and Missouri safety officials have told local residents that safeguards already in place will prevent fires from reaching the radioactive material, “People are not buying it,” Kammer told the Labor Tribune.
“We are looking for anyone who might have observed the comings and goings at the West Lake site, or worked there, to help build a strong case so that the community is protected,” he added. The site sits in the Missouri floodplain.
State Representatives Bill Otto (D-St. Charles), Keith English(D-Florissant) and Mary Nichols (D-Maryland Heights), and Congressman Lacy Clay (D-St. Louis) have been actively supporting residents and hosting public meetings to discuss the issue.
(Some information for this story from STL Today.)