West Lake Landfill owner continues trying spread cost of cleanup

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The owner of the West Lake Landfill is continuing the pursuit of spreading around the cost of the $205 million clean up, this time by seeking the current owners of the company that arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances at the superfund site.

Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, filed on Thursday a motion for early discovery in order to determine the current owner of Commercial Discount Corporation.

According to the filing, Atomic Energy Commission records show Commercial Discount Corporation originally owned and arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substances that were ultimately disposed of at West Lake Landfill in 1973. That entity is owned by a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., but Bridgeton cannot readily identify that subsidiary from publicly available records.

“Today, Bridgeton Landfill, LLC, took a further step toward bringing together all the companies involved with the Manhattan Project residues that led to the contamination of West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri. Federal records clearly show that ‘Commercial Discount Corporation’ originally owned and arranged for the disposal of hazardous substances that ended up in West Lake Landfill in 1973,” said Richard Callow, Bridgeton Landfill LLC.  “We have asked the judge to require Citigroup Inc to produce the records that will identify the correct subsidiary of Citigroup that now holds the assets and liabilities of Commercial Discount Corporation. We believe that Citigroup needs to be at the table for the mediation of liability, given their predecessor’s role in handling the radioactive material and arranging for its disposal.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently made the decision to move roughly 70 percent of the waste from the site used for disposal for the World War II-era program that produced the first nuclear weapon.

The plan is expected to be carried out within four years and cost $205 million — the owner of the landfill and parties deemed responsible for the contamination will fund the cleanup. Currently, Bridgeton Landfill will share the cost of the project with the U.S. Department of Energy and Cotter Corporation.

Bridgeton filed suit to add Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, the predecessor of Mallinckrodt LLC who processed uranium at its facility in St. Louis that was used in the Manhattan Project, and EverZinc, previously African Metals, as responsible parties. The nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project was illegally dumped on the 200 acres that make up the West Lake Landfill in the 1970s — before Bridgeton became owner of the site.

The EPA said 8,700 tons of radioactive leached barium sulfate residues from the nuclear bomb program was mixed with 39,000 tons of potentially contaminated surface soil in 1973, long before Republic Services became the owner. The EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List in 1990.