Northwest Missouri Superfund site still passing tests decades later

Associated Press

Tests show that a former northwest Missouri landfill that once was among the country's most polluted spots poses little risk today, 20 years after cleanup work was completed at the site.

Wheeling Disposal began operating a landfill in the 1970s in a rural area near Amazonia, The St. Joseph News-Press reported ( ). Before the company voluntarily closed the facility in 1986, it accepted waste such as pesticides, heavy metals, paint, solvents and leather tanning sludge.

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The Environmental Protection Agency put the site on the Superfund list in 1989, shortly after it earned the agency's highest-possible score for toxicity. Superfund status brought federal funds to aid in a cleanup and containment project, which was completed in 1994.

The EPA reviews Superfund sites every five years to make sure the containment measures put in place are doing their job. After its first review in 2000, the once-hazardous site was removed from the Superfund National Priorities List.

And a report released earlier this year showed chemicals remain isolated in the former landfill and have not leaked into groundwater. A cap made of plastic, clay and soil was installed at the site in 1994. The five companies found to be originally responsible for putting toxic waste in the landfill — Wire Rope Corporation of America, Eveready Corp., Blueside Co., Wheeling Disposal Service and the Missouri Highway & Transportation Commission — formed a group called the Wheeling Disposal Trust that maintains responsibility for testing water in the area for contaminants every five years.

One of the recommendations from this year's report was that environmental covenants be placed on the land, which would be stronger than the current deed restrictions that put limits on the property's land and groundwater use.


Information from: St. Joseph News-Press/St. Joe, Missouri,