ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The impact and lasting legacy of St. Louis’ role in the Manhattan Project was the focus of discussion at the first radioactive waste meeting in north St. Louis County. Residents shared story after story of their families being ripped apart by rare cancers, autoimmune diseases, and miscarriages.

Some residents did not know the cause of their illness until Thursday’s meeting. They learned about the radioactive waste that surrounds neighborhoods and yards in north St. Louis County and got updates from elected officials.

“My own experience with some of the data that has come out with the Army Corps (of Engineers) hasn’t been consistent. So, my office, along with other representatives, are trying to work. We know the Army Corps does need help,” State Representative Chantelle Nickson-Clark said.

A new report released by the Government Accountability Office showed the cost of the Coldwater Creek cleanup is now estimated around $400 million. Senator Josh Hawley said the report shows failure at multiple levels.

“What they have found is the Army Corps routinely fails to communicate with local communities what they are doing, routinely underestimates the amount of contamination, which they have done in the St. Louis region over and over,” Hawley said. “Routinely underestimates how long it is going to take to clean it up.”

Residents said they want to see the areas contaminated with radioactive waste from uranium refinement by Mallinckrodt Chemical Works finally cleaned up.

“The Army Corps says they will have this cleaned up in 2038. By then, this material will have been in our community for almost a hundred years,” Karen Nickel said.