FLORISSANT, Mo. — Parents and local environmental organizations received an update Tuesday night on radioactive soil from Coldwater Creek found at Jana Elementary School.
Recently, crews have been identifying areas where contamination still occurs along the surrounded creek corridor.
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Though the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reassured the public that the contamination isn’t a risk to people’s health or the environment, much still lies in spotty, high-trafficked areas such as Jana Elementary School.
“There are four parcels at Jana Elementary,” said Jonathan Rankins, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Representative. “The property line ends at the bottom of the creek bank where the contamination is found.”
“Army Corps is working their way down Coldwater Creek,” said Christine Russo, Missouri Coalition for the Environment community outreach coordinator. “They’re sampling within the 10-year floodplain, FEMA 10-year floodplain because Coldwater Creek is known to flood. So they’re aware of certain areas that they should be looking at. As they work down the creek, this is just where they are now.”
During its presentation, the corps says it will monitor the creek water and sediment twice a year in 11 locations and confirms no further contamination has occurred.
Russo said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hasn’t been transparent. She claimed in one email to a concerned parent that Jana Elementary School had contaminated soil and then excluded them in a report shortly after.
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“We can’t guarantee that these soils are not inaccessible,” said Russo. “I mean it’s just along the creek, where kids go to school, where kids play in parks, where homes are located. So unless the public is made aware of the dangers then there is absolutely a possibility of exposure.”
According to the corps, more than 190,000 cubic yards of contaminated material from the Manhattan Project have been shipped from three north St. Louis County sites to a state disposal facility.
“We all need to be doing this together. This is a legacy problem in St. Louis, and until we tackle it as a legacy problem and a whole community. We’re not going to get anywhere,” said Russo.
You can find the full presentations via the Hazelwood School District’s YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIjGFNhrdniY1pfJCGDmgCA/videos