Engineering firm says soil tested from Missouri schools near landfill not highly radioactive

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BRIDGETON, Missouri — An engineering firm hired by a Bridgeton-area school district concluded that soil from schools 2 miles from a radioactive landfill didn't show high levels of radiation.

The Pattonville School District spent $2,300 for the test presented Wednesday. The superintendent says the Pattonville High and Rose Acres Elementary schools were examined because of concerns from parents. The costs were covered by the district's insurance.

Levels of uranium, thorium and potassium at the school campuses were below federal standards that would require cleanup, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( ) reported. Slightly high readings of potassium were probably due to salt used to melt ice during the winter.

"It's something we're watching very carefully," Pattonville School District Superintendent Mike Fulton said. "The schools are safe. We felt like they were, but it's good to check."

World War II-era nuclear waste was illegally dumped at the nearby West Lake Landfill in the 1970s and it was eventually deemed a toxic Superfund site. An underground fire at an adjacent landfill three years ago raised concerns about the radioactive material. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers are working on a plan for a barrier between the two landfills.

Residents sent soil samples from the nearby athletic complex to an independent lab earlier this year and it found elevated levels of potentially toxic materials near a drainage ditch.

The Environmental Protection Agency did its own tests and said above-ground monitors did not find high levels of radioactivity there. The agency's soil test results are expected later this week.

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

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