The people of St. Louis, Missouri, could be the victims of a very serious man-made, environmental disaster as an underground fire is slowly burning at Bridgeton Landfill just 1,000 feet away from a cache of Cold War-era nuclear waste, reports ZeroHedge.com.
Aware of the potential disaster, government officials have “quietly” drafted an emergency evacuation plan “in case the smoldering embers ever reach the waste,” which could result in a “catastrophic event” sending up a “plume of radioactive smoke” directly over the Midwestern metropolis, which is home to nearly 3,000,000 residents.
Shockingly, the emergency plan has never been shared with the public and was only brought to light when St. Louis radio station KMOX obtained a copy which “calls for evacuations and development of emergency shelters, both in St. Louis County and neighboring St. Charles County.”
St. Louis officials downplay city’s evacuation plan
To manage the potential disaster, local government would primarily rely on “private and volunteer groups,” as well as the federal government, “depending on the severity of the emergency,” says the plan.
Officials immediately downplayed the seriousness of a radioactive plume threat, stating that the plan “is not an indication of any imminent danger,” but rather reflects the “county government’s responsibility to protect the health, safety and well-being of all St. Louis County residents,” said County Executive Steve Stenger.
Republic Services, which owns the Bridgeton Landfill and the adjacent West Lake Landfill, insist that they are both “safe and intensively monitored”; however, not everyone is convinced.
While the underground fire has reportedly been smoldering since 2010, the cause is unknown. A putrid odor emitted by the burning has generated cause for concern, prompting Republic Services to spend millions capping the smelly gases.
Close proximity of two disaster sites draws concern as fire moves closer to nuclear dump site
In 1973, Mallinckrodt Chemical Works illegally dumped radioactive waste leftover from production of atomic bomb materials, contaminating surrounding areas and causing high rates of rare cancers among St. Louisans. It was declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1990.
“The proximity of the two environmental hazards is what worries residents and environmentalists. At the closest point, they are 1,000 to 1,200 feet apart,” Zero Hedge reports.
If the fire smoldering underground were to reach the toxic nuclear waste dump site, “there is a potential for radioactive fallout to be released in the smoke plume and spread throughout the region,” says the disaster plan.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued Republic Services in 2013, “alleging negligent management and violation of state environmental laws”; the case is scheduled for court in March 2016.
Koster filed the suit after reading a report that “found radiological contamination in trees outside the landfill’s perimeter,” as well as another showing evidence “that the fire has moved past two rows of interceptor wells and closer to the nuclear waste.”