West Lake Update
February 12, 2015
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EPA Releases Off-Site Air Data Summary
Since last May, EPA has conducted
off-site air monitoring in five areas
around the West Lake Landfill to
document baseline conditions prior
to any potential on-site construction
or work EPA's efforts to monitor the
air and conduct a thorough scientific
analysis are vital to be able to ensure
any construction activities are pro-
tective of public health. EPA recently released two reports that
focus on two types of contamination that are of particular im-
portance to the Agency's work at West Lake Landfill—radiation
and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
What the data show EPA scientists is that the people around
West Lake Landfill are not being exposed to levels of radiation
or VOCs at concentrations greater than what is found in similar
industrial cities including St. Louis. Its important to note that
while its consistent with other cities, the air monitoring data
isn't quite a success story when it comes to meeting air quality
standards. St. Louis, like other industrialized cities, has work to
do regarding air quality, and EPA, working with its state part-
ners, remains committed to implementing the Clean Air Act
and its regulations to improve air quality for all people living in
and around St. Louis.
The main effort of EPA's monitoring system was to sample for
alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, and typical solid waste land-
fill gases, including VOCs.
The radiation levels measured by EPA are consistent with
other Midwest cities. For alpha and beta radiation, all moni-
tored median values were consistent with median values for the
air monitor placed in St. Charles. EPA placed this monitor in
St. Charles to act as a reference for the monitors placed in the
immediate area of the West Lake Landfill. Gamma radiation
monitors around West Lake Landfill showed values that were
also consistent with the variability of natural geological radia-
tion sources in the area.
According to EPA air scientists, EPA also conducted in the
field monitoring for sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and
hydrogen sulfide; however, the Agency did not produce reports
on these compounds. EPA's processing and review of the data
for these compounds is ongoing. Due to limitations in the field
methodology and equipment used, the data collected by EPA
for these three compounds cannot be used to compare with
health-based standards. The Missouri Department of Natural
Resources' (MDNR) on-site sampling system and methods for
these compounds offer the most reliable and accurate data.
While the data demonstrating that the levels of radiation and
VOCs in the air is similar to other cities maybe encouraging
for people living in the area, the Agency recognizes that people
there live with odor issues related to the Bridgeton Landfill -
and that at many times the odors have serious impacts on their
quality of life.
The state of Missouri, through the MDNR and the Attorney
General's office, has taken strong action to mitigate odors ema-
nating from the South Quarry of the Bridgeton Landfill, such as
requiring the installation of a vinyl cover to trap fugitive gases
escaping from the landfill and the construction of a leachate col-
lection system. These efforts, among others, have reduced the
amount and intensity of offensive odors escaping the Bridgeton
MDNR's on-site air monitoring network, which includes
monitoring at the Bridgeton Landfill for VOCs, gamma radia-
tion, and sulfate compounds, remains active. In addition to the
state's air monitoring network, Republic Services is expected to
begin operation of an additional on-site air monitoring network
consisting of 13 locations. EPA will perform oversight of the
PRP's new air monitoring system. EPA has reviewed and ap-
proved the workplan for this monitoring and installation of the
network is currently underway.
Since EPA has collected the required baseline VOC data, four
of the five stations will cease operating in February. The Agency
will operate the monitor in Spanish Village for radiological con-
taminants only for the next few months, until it has one full year
of radiation data at that location. At that time, EPA will reevalu-
ate the need for further monitoring at the Spanish Village loca-
tion. EPA is confident that the results of the radiation and VOC
data to date provide a sufficient baseline from which to compare
any future off-site air monitoring for those compounds.
The air monitoring reports are available on EPA Region 7's
West Lake Landfill website: www.epa.gov/region7/cleanup/
Additional RIM Characterization Coming Soon
In late 2013 and early 2014, the Potentially Responsible Par-
ties (PRPs) at the West Lake Landfill conducted Gamma Cone
Penetrometer Testing (GCPT) and core sampling in an effort
to identify known locations of the radiologically impacted
material (RIM) in Operable Unit 1, Area 1. The results of this
testing indicated the presence of RIM in previously unidentified
locations, necessitating the need for additional characterization
On January 15, EPA sent a letter to the PRPs requesting that
they conduct additional GCPT work. Specifically, the additional
work requested by EPA would include the performance of a
statistically-derived sampling plan in order to fully delineate the
nature and extent of the RIM south and west of the previously
defined boundaries of Operable Unit 1, Area 1.
The letter also outlines EPA's intent to conduct testing of RIM
in previously collected samples under anticipated Subsurface
Smoldering Event (SSE) conditions. This testing will assist EPA
in its ongoing analysis of any potential exposures and risks as-
sociated with the RIM coming into contact with an SSE. EPA
Region 7 is currently working with the Office of Research and
Development and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to define
the testing methods. EPA expects to perform this testing at
the same time as the PRPs conduct the above-referenced RIM
characterization activities.
The letter to the PRPs requesting this additional work is avail-
able on EPA Region 7's West Lake Landfill website: www.epa.
gov/ region7/ cleanup/west_lake_landfill/
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