Inside testing done, soil sampling begins at Missouri school

Oct 27, 2022, 9:06 PM | Updated: Oct 28, 2022, 9:23 am
"Virtual school is not the answer," said mother Cheryl Lane, right, who leaves a Hazelwood School B...

"Virtual school is not the answer," said mother Cheryl Lane, right, who leaves a Hazelwood School Board meeting with her two sons, Aaron, 9, left, and Andrew, 7, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, at the Hazelwood School District Learning Center in Florissant, Mo. The board announced elementary students will switch to virtual learning after radioactive waste was found at Jana Elementary School. "My kids have been virtual since the start of the school year and they are not learning," said Lane. (Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

(Laurie Skrivan/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has completed testing inside a Missouri school closed amid concerns of radioactive contamination, and sampling of soil outside the school has begun, Corps officials said Friday.

A suburban St. Louis school board voted last week to close Jana Elementary School in Florissant, Missouri, after testing by a private firm found levels of radioactive isotope lead-210 that were 22 times the expected level on the kindergarten playground. It also found high levels of polonium, radium and other material inside the school, which sits along Coldwater Creek, a 19-mile (31-kilometer) waterway contaminated decades ago with Manhattan Project atomic waste.

The Corps said in a news release that radiation detection instruments were used to scan surfaces inside the school. That work began Monday and concluded on Friday.

Sampling of soil outside the school began Wednesday and is expected to go on for another two weeks, the Corps said. The agency plans to sample at least 45 spots, with depths ranging from 15 to 28 feet below the surface.

Preliminary test results are expected in November.

“Public safety is our top priority,” Col. Kevin Golinghorst, St. Louis District commander, said in the release. “Our team has the right expertise and experience to complete this work.”

The approximate 400 students at Jana Elementary are taking virtual classes for the next month, then will be reassigned to other schools. It hasn’t been determined when Jana Elementary will reopen.

Coldwater Creek was contaminated in the 1940s and 1950s when waste from atomic bomb material manufactured in St. Louis got into the waterway near Lambert Airport, where the waste was stored. The result was an environmental nightmare that resulted in a Superfund declaration in 1989.

The site near the airport has largely been cleaned up but remediation of the creek itself won’t be finished for another 16 years, Corps officials said.

A 2019 federal report determined that those exposed to the creek from the 1960s to the 1990s may have an increased risk of bone cancer, lung cancer and leukemia. Environmentalists and area residents have cited several instances of extremely rare cancers that have sickened and killed people.

The Corps of Engineers earlier found contamination in a wooded area near the school, but hadn’t previously tested the school or its grounds. This summer, lawyers involved in a class-action lawsuit representing local residents seeking compensation for illnesses and deaths received permission from the Hazelwood School District to perform testing.

Results from testing done by Boston Chemical Data Corp. were released earlier this month, prompting the decision to shut down the school.

It’s unclear exactly what any cleanup would involve, how long it would take or who would pay for it. A school district spokeswoman declined comment.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A flyer seeking information about the killings of four University of Idaho students who were found ...
Rebecca Boone, Associated Press

Victims’ families urge love, kindness as Idaho campus mourns

As hundreds of students mourned together inside the University of Idaho’s stadium Wednesday night, family members of four slain classmates urged them to raise their eyes from grief and focus on love and the future.
14 hours ago
Associated Press

How major US stock indexes fared Thursday 12/1/2022

Stocks ended mixed after an uneven day of trading and bond yields fell broadly after the government reported that a measure of inflation that’s closely watched by the Federal Reserve eased in October. The S&P 500 ended 0.1% lower Thursday. The benchmark index is coming off its second straight monthly gain. A day earlier, markets […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Doctors alarmed as surge in RSV cases fills German hospitals

BERLIN (AP) — Intensive care doctors in Germany warned Thursday that hospital pediatric units in the country are stretched to breaking point in part due to rising cases of respiratory infections among infants. The intensive care association DIVI said the seasonal surge in respiratory syncytial virus cases and a shortage of nurses was causing a […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Poland says Kandinsky art sold in Germany comes from theft

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s culture authorities said Thursday a picture by Wassily Kandinsky that was auctioned in Germany for almost 390,000 euros ($404,000) belongs to Poland, where it was stolen in 1984. The authorities are threatening legal steps. Kandinsky’s 1928 watercolor “Untitled” was sold Thursday at the Grisebach auctioneers in Berlin. The price tag […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Aline Kominsky-Crumb, underground cartoonist, dies at 74

Aline Kominsky-Crumb, an American cartoonist known for her feminist themes and often brutally frank, highly personal and self-critical work, has died at the age of 74. Kominsky-Crumb, who was a close collaborator of her cartoonist husband, Robert Crumb, died of cancer Tuesday at their longtime home in France, said Alexander Wood, manager of the website […]
2 days ago
FILE - A large homeless encampment is shown in Phoenix, Aug. 5, 2020. On Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022, ...
Associated Press

ACLU sues city of Phoenix to stop sweeps of homeless camp

PHOENIX (AP) — The ACLU of Arizona says it is suing the city of Phoenix in order to block resumed sweeps of a huge homeless encampment downtown that they say has displaced people and destroyed identification documents, prescription medications and other belongings. The ACLU says it filed the complaint late Wednesday in the U.S. District […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSPA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Inside testing done, soil sampling begins at Missouri school