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After denying the problem for years, EPA finally orders barrier to block underground fire from reaching 100,000 tons of nuclear waste near St. Louis

Nuclear waste

(NaturalNews) During 2016, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was busy covering up its mistakes in the Gold King Mine cleanup disaster in Colorado – which polluted waterways in three states – and while jailing others who committed environmental crimes less serious than the agency's own SNAFUs, it managed to also ignore what could turn out to be one of the biggest potential environmental disasters in the nation's history.

Bridgeton, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb, is home to the West Lake landfill – a site where at least 100,000 tons of nuclear weapons-related radioactive material related to the Manhattan Project was illegally dumped in 1973.

Although the site has been slated for cleanup for more than 25 years, the EPA has dragged its heels until recently – but it may be too late to fix things now, as other factors have come into play that could result in a massive release of radiation in the area.

Decades of inaction

A little background on the history of the site ...

From NYDailyNews.com:

"West Lake was declared a Superfund site in 1990. In 2008, the EPA announced a remediation plan to cap the nuclear waste with rock, clay and soil. The plan drew enough opposition that the EPA decided to reconsider. The agency has not yet announced a new plan despite criticism from some lawmakers and residents who feel the agency is moving too slowly."

The EPA's mishandling of the situation and the fact that no one really knows how much waste is actually there, or how far its boundaries extend, make for a bad enough situation.

And now there are other complications. One is an "underground fire" from another nearby landfill that has been slowly spreading and which is now within 1,000 feet of the estimated boundaries of the waste storage area at West Lake Landfill.

Another is the recent heavy flooding in the region that appears to already be causing leakage of radiation into the groundwater surrounding the site.

From TruthAlerts.com:

"Torrential rains brought what is now being described as ongoing historic flooding to the area — and with it, yet another set of problems and controversy to West Lake Landfill and the people of Bridgeton and nearby Coldwater Creek.

"On Dec 30, a peer-reviewed study, published in the Journal for Environmental Radioactivity, disclosed a startling fact about West Lake: radiological contamination has, indeed, seeped outside the already vague boundaries of the site."

The EPA's motto should read: 'Too Little, Too Late'

In October of last year, the EPA finally managed to come up with a plan to erect a barrier in hopes of keeping the underground fire from the adjacent Bridgeton Landfill from reaching the waste area at West Lake.

Environmental experts and local residents, however, believe that the barrier is not a viable solution and that the only safe way of addressing the problem is to remove the radioactive waste completely.

But time is running out.

Once again, the EPA – an agency whose job is to preserve the environment – has bungled a major cleanup operation. The agency's failure to act in a timely and effective manner may now be leading to an environmental catastrophe on a scale that's difficult to estimate, and one which already threatens the safety of thousands of nearby residents.

No one really knows what will happen if the fire reaches the waste. Although the EPA continues to downplay the seriousness of the situation, some believe that the radioactive material could ignite or even explode – a scenario which could have consequences almost too terrible to contemplate.

At the very least, it could trigger a major release of radon gas and other contaminants into the air and the groundwater.

Meanwhile, mainstream media is paying little attention, and, as Claire Bernish of Truth Alert wrote: "[N]o one knows exactly what's happening with the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills — though the smoldering below the surface doesn't cease and floodwaters continue to rise."





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