Once upon a time (during the cold war era) atomic weapons were developed in north St. Louis near the airport. Uranium was processed from 1942 through 1957. In order to safely store the radioactive byproducts that resulted from these endeavors, the materials were placed in “safe” containers. Some were shipped to a facility near Coldwater Creek in the area, some were buried in a landfill west of the site, and some were taken to Colorado.
Decades later, after flooding and ground settling these deadly materials are spilling out and slowly poisoning the people of Hazelwood, Florissant, Bridgeton and making it’s way down Coldwater Creek into Overland. Basically, St. Louis is screwed.
Thanks to the strategic “genius” of local officials another landfill somehow developed an underground fire say about 7 or so years ago. This fire somehow decided to start making its way near the nuclear waste landfill site. Politicians all scrambled around when the public found out. Missouri leaders pretended they were going to take action, but all they could come up with was a “plan” for what to do if the fire met the nuclear waste and exploded.
Because you know, the people of Florissant, Hazelwood, Bridegton, and Overland would be sooo protected by a “plan” to mitigate the damage after they’ve been blown up.
After the 2016 election, President Donald Trump (yes the “Orange Man Bad” guy) was notified and was the first president to directly address the situation. He was set on working with local officials to find real long term solutions to the problem — or so he said. But, again, nothing was done.
Being that Ice Cream Joe and his coalition of climate activists in office pretend to care so much, one would think this would be a top priority of the current administration. But it’s not. Instead, the affected families have been embroiled in a long legal battle to receive damages for the harmful; effects of living in an area that was built on top of nuclear waste.
If only that was the end of the story. But it’s not. Now, those who send their children to Jana Elementary school in Florissant have learned that their children’s campus is highly contaminated. Parents are terrified. they’re wishing to take their children out of the facility which has unacceptably high levels of radioactive contamination in classrooms, the kitchen, the library, fields, playgrounds, and even within the HVAC system that controls the entire school’s air quality.
The Army Corps of Engineers are attempting to debunk recent testing results. The project manager from the Corps’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program straight up claimed that he wouldn’t mind letting his kids go to the contaminated school. But saying something and doing it is another. I want to see him do it. Enroll your kids. Please. And leave them in that building everyday 5 days a week for 5 years. Then tell everyone your results.
Of course, it is not just the school that is contaminated. The entire area is a mess of radioactive potential. Taking a child out of the school won’t prevent them from long-term health deterioration if the families with children enrolled in the district live in the area.
It’s not like a box of pretzels fell on the ground and can just be picked up either. This material is in the ground, the water; the entire ecosystem has felt the effects of the nuclear waste spilling out and reaching Coldwater Creek, then flowing through it.
My dad worked with the EPA for a couple of years way back. As much press and activism as their is surrounding climate change, he admitted first hand that “It’s the chemical spills that have really fucked everything up. They’re in the ground and the water. You can’t clean them up.”
Maybe that’s why everyone talks about this — at least in STL — but no one does anything. It’s why a lot of us have left the area (well, that and insane leftist policies, like letting criminals run free while overtaxing everyone for nothing).
Regardless, the news surrounding this school is just the latest developments in the ongoing nuclear waste landfill news coming out of St. Louis. How the children have been and will be affected is uncertain. If anything we may do well to contact Japanese officials and adopt their efforts since they cleaned up the Fukushima accident.
But the nuclear waste in Fukushima was cleaned up so well and so quickly because the elderly of that area were willing to sacrifice themselves and their futures for younger generations. Older men in their 70s were willing to bravely enter the contamination site and clean up the mess in order to protect those who had yet to live full lives. I honestly don’t know how many Americans would offer up such a sacrifice.
If it were even possible to finally fully clean up the contaminated areas around Coldwater Creek in St. Louis, most Americans are so afraid of death that not even 70 and 80 year old adults would sacrifice themselves for others. We got a glimpse of this when our entire country was shut down to protect the elderly from COVID despite the harmful lasting effects of masking, social isolation, and economic hardship that have ravaged children, young adults, and healthy adults due to our pandemic response.
In Japan, of course, they never locked down. So their culture and methods may offer insight, but it is unlikely to sway anyone here. Unfortunately. And schoolchildren will continue to be exposed to the radioactivity produced by a decades long nuclear waste landfill botch.
6 thoughts on “Radioactive Contamination at STL Elementary School”
Communities all over the mid-west suffer from industrial contamination. I live on top of land that a local factory contaminated.
Its so sad and frustrating. I really hope the land heals somehow.
Their solution was to test the soil for the toxins they know were already put there by two local factories. Werefused to allow them to do the testing because they had no way to correct the issue without condiming the properties. We suspect it was for a land grab. The process will soon repeat itself because the plan to build a factory to produce electric car batteries here in the near future.
Oh man. Def not a solution.
What a horror show. Ithaca has its own toxic waste legacies, though nothing like this.