St. Louis – The Hazelwood School District’s board of education voted Tuesday night to petition the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to test all the district’s buildings for radioactive waste. The board also voted for state and federal elected officials to request the testing and for those officials to help find ways to pay for the costs.
“Our kids are so important, and we’re glad to see the Hazelwood School District take this initiative,” said Ashley Bernaugh, Jana Elementary School PTA president.
Jana Elementary School was closed after a private firm reported harmful levels of radioactive waste at the school. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted its own testing and found no harmful levels of radiation. The USACE reported contamination from nearby Coldwater Creek did not spread to the school. A third firm also reported no harmful waste.
Coldwater creek is a site where radioactive waste from World War II bomb making has spread. A federal cleanup of the site is underway.
“This is the federal government’s fault,” said U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, “Let’s be clear here, the pollution comes from the federal government.”
Hawley called on President Joe Biden’s administration to release emergency federal funding to address the situation.
“The parents and the kids here deserve better than what they’re getting,” he said.
When contacted before the start of Tuesday’s board of education meeting, a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District said, “To date, the St. Louis District has not received a formal request from the HSD Board of Education for USACE FUSRAP to test all HSD properties for radioactive contamination. We continue to conduct testing for radiological materials along Coldwater Creek and its associated floodplain using proven collection and laboratory methods to ensure any contaminated materials found to exceed the cleanup standard are addressed. If evidence is presented for a need to expand sampling and testing, USACE FUSRAP will take the appropriate actions. It is one of our foremost priorities to provide this community in which we live and work with accurate, reliable and scientifically sound data with which to make informed and educated decisions, especially those that concern the safety and well-being of its children.”