It was dumped in the 1970s, began being researched several years later, has been stated as “toxic and harmful,” and it smells like smoldering trash; it’s the West Lake Landfill. The landfill is filled with radioactive waste left from the nuclear industrial complex. Unlike the nuclear industrial complex, the radioactive waste that was left behind will not degrade due to political and social pressures. The nuclear waste was dumped, illegally, in 1973 at the West Lake site without proper treatment, yet the Nuclear Regulatory Commision didn’t impose a fine. The alarming cronyism has persisted through the decades but there is some hope now due to concerned moms.
The coalition of moms brought this issue to the national media several years ago and has been persistent on their demands for a nonradioactive environment for their chidren to grow up in. The moms formed a non profit organization called Just Moms STL, but they are so much more. They led a campaign to get the radioactive waste dealt with by the local, state, and national government agencies. Their persistence has resulted in action. Their proposal to deal with the waste ended up with EPA involvement. While the public comment period has passed on “Excavation Plus (Alternative 4),” they have created an enduring awareness of the issue of nuclear waste. At the very least there will be a “removal of 67 percent of the radioactive waste to a maximum depth of 16 feet, the installation of an engineered cap over the remaining wastes, institutional controls and monitoring.” This is not the perfect solution, but it does mitigate some of the risk of the underground fire reaching concentrated areas of radioactive waste.
“Just Moms STL” rallied around an issue that had been facing the community for years and they have endured through the legal system for many years so that their children will be able to live in a world that does not smell like toxic waste. Mammock Darning applauds the work of these ladies, and all those involved, for all the work they have done. We look forward to a promising statement from the EPA.