Disaster plan developed for schools near West Lake Landfill

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BRIDGETON, MO (KTVI) - New concerns this morning over what could happen if an underground fire at a Bridgeton landfill ever reaches radioactive waste at an adjoining landfill.

Several school districts are sending letters home to parents explaining their emergency disaster plans. The radioactive waste is buried at the West Lake Landfill while the underground fire is burning at the nearby Bridgeton Landfill.

Both facilities are off St. Charles Rock Road in Bridgeton.

Fox 2 obtained the letter sent home to staff and parents by the superintendent of the St. Charles School District.

Our partners at the Post-Dispatch report similar letters also went out in the Pattonville, Francis Howell and Orchard Farm School Districts.

In the St. Charles letter, superintendent Jeff Marion says he is working with city and county emergency management officials to ensure that the district is prepared in case of a quote 'environmental accident' at the site.

The letter talks about a recently released 2014 emergency response plan developed to address potential crisis situations that could happen at the landfills.

Those situations include toxic fumes that could be released if the fire reaches the radioactive waste.
If an environmental hazard happens, the St. Charles letter says the district would either evacuate or shelter in place.

Superintendent Marion writes that the schools would follow the directive of first responders.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has said the underground fire is moving toward the radioactive waste.

Officials with Republic Services, the company which owns both landfills, says efforts to keep the fire from reaching the waste have been successful.

The letter calls the landfill situation here a “regional concern” that needs to be remedied as soon as possible.

A community meeting on the landfill issues is set for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at John Calvin Presbyterian Church at 12567 Natural Bridge in Bridgeton.