On Tuesday, November 10, nearly one hundred Washington University and St. Louis community members gathered on the Danforth campus to hear a panel aimed at providing information and feedback on events associated with the illegal dumping of radioactive waste at West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, MO. The panel was hosted by Green Action, which is WUSTL’s environmental justice club. The four panelists were: Dawn Chapman, who founded Just Mom’s STL and is spearheading the West Lake Landfill remediation movement; Bill Otto, a Missouri state representative; Robbin Dailey, a resident of Spanish Village, which has been greatly affected by the nearby radioactive waste at the landfill; and Mark Dietrich, St. Louis County’s Director of Emergency Planning. Harvey Ferdman, a Missouri policy analyst, moderated the panel.
Before the panel opened for questions, Chapman presented a slideshow to explain the history of the West Lake Landfill site. She explained where the radiactive waste originated, where it has moved over the past forty years, and who has been in charge of response and clean up. She also discussed the underground fire burning approximately 1,000 feet from the waste and the need for action to prevent the two from meeting. After her presentation, attendees ranging from students to local residents asked for clarification and detail on topics like potential consequences if the fire continues to spread. The panel relayed information to the best of their ability, but it became clear more research needs to be conducted to develop an action plan to remediate the situation.
To learn more about the landfill and how you can help, join WUSTL’s Facebook group. You can also join Dawn Chapman’s Facebook group, which has over 18,500 members and provides frequent updates on the situation and ways to get involved.