Article courtesy of Laura Shay | June 27, 2015 | KMOV St. Louis | Shared as educational material
HAZELWOOD, Mo. (KMOV.com) –After collecting 4,000 samples from Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County, the Army Corps of Engineers will share information on the contamination.
On Wednesday night, the Corps met with residents to outline what they are doing to protect those who live around the creek from any dangerous or radioactive material.
“We just tell the kids they aren’t allowed to play in the water and to stay in our little area: the park, the yard,” said Brandy Peck, whose home backs up to the creek near St. Ferdinand Park. Peck said she was not too concerned about contamination in the water.
Mike Petersen of the Army Corps of Engineers said the contamination started near the airport and the contaminates in the creek include uranium, thorium and radium.
“The contaminates are bi-products of the early atomic weapons program,” Petersen said. “The source of the contamination along Coldwater Creek has been cleaned up and completely remeded and closed out. However, we are chasing the contamination anywhere it could have spread.”
Now that the area between the airport and I-270 have been cleaned up, the Corps is moving on to neighborhoods north of the interstate.
“We have found some areas with elevated contamination. Nothing that would cause an immediate threat to people’s health,” said Petersen. “We are talking about very low dosage, very low risk areas, but it still needs to be cleaned up, and that’s our mission.”
According to the Corps, the contamination had plagued the creek for decades, with most of it in inaccessible places under layers of sediment. Petersen said someone would have to spend a very long time in the water and inadvertently dig up the contaminated material for it to pose any kind of health threat.
“Right now there is no immediate threat to human health. However, there is long range impact to this radioactive material being present in the environment,” said Petersen. “Knowing that it is there, we have to get in there and clean it up to protect future generations, as well.”
The Army Corps of Engineers are hosting an open house at the Hazelwood Civic Center until 8 p.m. Wednesday night.