Formerly Utilized Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP)
Uranium processing for the U.S. Government’s early nuclear weapons program and related activities were conducted in St. Louis City and North St. Louis County from 1942 to 1973. The Manhattan Engineer District; and later, the Atomic Energy Commission, both predecessors of the U.S. Department of Energy, were responsible for these activities. The processing and management practices conducted during that time resulted in contamination of the soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater.
The Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) was created in 1974 to identify, investigate, clean up and manage sites that were part of the nation’s early atomic energy and weapons program. The St. Louis Downtown Site (SLDS), the St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS), the Hazelwood Interim Storage Site and former Futura Company (HISS/FUTURA), and properties contaminated in association with these sites were designated for FUSRAP in the St. Louis area. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has been in charge of FUSRAP management since 1997, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) providing primary regulatory oversight.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ Role
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources Federal Facilities Section (FFS) provides oversight for investigations and cleanup of hazardous chemical and radiological substances at federal facilities, including the St. Louis FUSRAP sites.The FFS also provides guidance that ensures site activities follow state and federal environmental laws and regulations.The FFS works closely with the USACE - St. Louis District and EPA throughout the cleanup process.
Until 1997, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) led the cleanup of three areas as part of its responsibility for the cleanup of nationwide Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) sites. In October 1997, Congress transferred FUSRAP from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Since that transition, the St. Louis FUSRAP sites have fallen under the cleanup responsibility of USACE. Upon completion of the excavations of FUSRAP, the responsibility for the tracking of areas that did not meet cleanup goals will revert to DOE.
In addition to the three St. Louis FUSRAP sites: St. Louis Downtown Site (SLDS), St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS) and former Futura Company (HISS/FUTURA), over 100 vicinity properties (VPs) near SLDS, SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA were potentially contaminated by historic storage, transport, and spreading by wind and rain associated with radioactive material handling. The majority of contamination has been removed from SLDS, SLAPS, HISS and the VPs associated with them. Other areas that require sampling and possible cleanup are being evaluated.
Building demolition and utility work at SLDS have made more areas available for sampling and cleanup. Stormwater runoff from SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA carried contaminants into nearby Coldwater Creek. Coldwater Creek flows through several commercial and residential areas and parks before reaching the Missouri River. Early sampling results from along the creek identified pockets of contamination that have required clean up. These results have led to additional areas along the creek in need of investigation and possible cleanup.
Contaminants of Concern
Both radiological and non-radiological contaminants of concern (COCs) are found at the St. Louis FUSRAP sites. The primary COCs are radiological and consist of uranium, radium and thorium and their decay products. Other non-radiological COCs include heavy metals at some St. Louis FUSRAP sites.
Can the FUSRAP Sites be Redeveloped?
It is important to note that uranium, radium and thorium are chemical elements, and all are naturally occurring in the soil to some extent. Some areas of the St. Louis FUSRAP sites contain levels of radioactivity above levels that allow the land to be used for any possible use. These areas are not believed to pose an immediate health risk given current land uses. However, these areas will remain radioactive for thousands of years and long-term health risks could increase to unacceptable levels if how the land is used changes, or if potentially contaminated materials are excavated without proper protection and handling methods. Documents or agreements called records of decisions, require that each site is cleaned up to health-based risk levels acceptable for both the current and projected future uses of the land, including residential, recreational and industrial. If a property cannot be cleaned up to these risk levels, then the property must have land use restrictions placed on it.
USACE sponsors annual public meetings or availability sessions to share information regarding the status of sampling and cleanup with members of the community. The FFS and other regulatory agencies associated with St. Louis FUSRAP sites are usually invited to attend and provide information at these annual events. The USACE is also required to hold a special public meeting prior to issuing major decision documents.
What’s Been Done
- As of Dec. 31, 2018, USACE removed more than 1.27 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and material. The material was transported to permitted out-of-state facilities.
- Most reachable contamination has been removed from SLDS and its associated VPs.
- SLAPS cleanup was completed in May 2009, with the exception of contamination remaining below buildings, roads and utilities.
- HISS/FUTURA cleanup was completed in 2014, with the exception of contamination remaining below buildings, roads and utilities.
- Contamination has been removed from most of the North County VPs, with the exception of Coldwater Creek north of Pershall Road and adjacent properties along the creek.
- Cleanup efforts for the St. Louis FUSRAP sites and their VPs are currently expected to continue until 2039.
- Once cleanup is completed, oversight of any property use restrictions will be turned over to DOE.
- As a result of additional building demolition and utility work at SLDS, more areas may available for sampling and possible cleanup.
- One of the North County VPs, which consists of Coldwater Creek north of Pershall Road and properties along the creek, still requires evaluation and potential cleanup.
- Contamination that cannot be cleaned up, typically found under roads, buildings, railroads and other permanent structures will be addressed in one of three ways: sampling showing cleanup requirements are met, performing additional soil removal to meet cleanup requirements, or with property use restrictions.
MoDNR Federal Facilities Section: 573-751-3907
What Is SLDS?
The St. Louis Downtown Site (SLDS) is located in an industrial area on the eastern edge of St. Louis, along the Mississippi River. The property is about 11 miles southeast of the St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS). Uranium was processed for the U.S. Government’s nuclear weapons program from 1942 until 1957 at Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, a 45-acre chemical manufacturing facility. The SLDS is comprised of approximately 210 acres of land, which includes Mallinckrodt Inc., (formerly Mallinckrodt Chemical Works) and 38 surrounding vicinity properties (VPs).
The U.S. Government’s uranium extraction operations at Mallinckrodt Inc. resulted in wastes from the process, including radium, thorium and uranium spreading into the surrounding area, affecting SLDS and its vicinity properties. Uranium processing ended at Mallinckrodt in 1957.
Clean up activities began in some Mallinckrodt areas between 1995 to 1998.
The final cleanup remedy for accessible soil (soil that can be reached for cleanup) at SLDS is outlined in the Record of Decision for SLDS, dated October 1998 (1998 SLDS ROD). The final remedy for accessible contamination at SLDS is removal and disposal. Most accessible soil contamination has been identified and removed at the Mallinckrodt facility and the 38 VPs, and disposed of at a facility permitted to accept the contaminated material. The uranium process could potentially have also contaminated groundwater in the area. Long-term monitoring is therefore also required for groundwater beneath the site as outlined in the 1998 SLDS ROD. If groundwater contamination is detected, a groundwater assessment and remedy may need to be selected in the future.
Approximately 20 locations at SLDS still require investigation and possible cleanup. As more buildings are demolished by Mallinckrodt and others, areas surrounding and beneath the former building footprints will need to be sampled to determine if cleanup is needed.
Any remaining contamination at SLDS properties will be addressed in one of three ways: sampling showing cleanup requirements are met, performing additional soil removal to meet cleanup requirements or as explained in additional record(s) of decision for the remaining areas at SLDS. Once active cleanup is completed, oversight of any property use restrictions will be turned over to DOE.
The St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS) is approximately 15 miles from downtown St. Louis and immediately north of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. SLAPS is a 21.7-acre tract of land bounded by the Norfolk and Western Railroad and Banshee Road on the south, Coldwater Creek on the west, and McDonnell Boulevard and adjacent former recreational fields on the north and east. The Problem
Radioactive uranium processing residues from St. Louis Downtown Site (SLDS) were stored and accumulated at SLAPS during the time period from 1946 to 1957 and contaminated the site. Some of the materials were stored in bulk on open ground or pits, while others were stored in drums and either stacked or buried on-site. The property was fenced to prevent casual entry and limit direct radiation exposure to the public.Environmental Restoration
Most of the stored uranium residues were sold to a private entity for recycling, and were removed from SLAPS and taken to HISS/FUTURA in 1966 and 1967. Contamination; however, remained at the SLAPS site. In October 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed SLAPS on the National Priorities List (NPL), confirming the need for further investigation of the site for threats to human health and the environment. In 1990, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and EPA signed an agreement that established an environmental review process and schedule for the cleanup of SLAPS and other St. Louis FUSRAP sites. Congress transferred execution of FUSRAP from DOE to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in 1997. USACE then removed 5,100 cubic yards of radiologically contaminated materials immediately adjacent to Coldwater Creek at the west end of SLAPS. The USACE took action to control surface water and the spread of contamination off-site in 1998. A rail spur was constructed to allow for rapid shipment of contaminated material. Excavation and cleanup at SLAPS continued intermittently until 2005.
The 2005 Record of Decision for North County Sites (NC ROD) presented the final remedy for all North County sites. The NC ROD addressed not only SLAPS, but also included HISS/FUTURA and North County VPs and Coldwater Creek. The final remedy consisted of: excavation to achieve cleanup goals, groundwater monitoring to show groundwater was not impacting Coldwater Creek surface water, and institutional controls on any inaccessible contamination. The NC ROD also requires that all accessible contaminated soil and material (that can be reached for cleanup), be disposed off-site at a properly permitted facility.
Cleanup of SLAPS continued after the NC ROD was adopted. More than 600,000 cubic yards of accessible radiologically contaminated soil and material were removed from SLAPS over a nine-year period, from 1997 to 2006.
Current activities at SLAPS include site monitoring and maintenance of the rail spur, which is used to ship material excavated from the various North County VPs and Coldwater Creek Properties. Some contamination at SLAPS remains under the rail spur and a limited number of currently inaccessible areas on the site. Contamination that cannot be reached for cleanup is referred to as inaccessible. If it cannot be cleaned up, inaccessible soils can be addressed by property use restrictions and ongoing oversight of those property use restrictions. The rail spur at SLAPS will be removed after completion of all North County excavation work. Any remaining contamination at SLAPS will be addressed with property use restrictions. Once cleanup is complete, oversight of any property use restrictions will be turned over to DOE.
The site is located in northern St. Louis County, within the city limits of Hazelwood and Berkeley at 9170 Latty Ave. and 9200 Latty Ave., respectively. These sites are approximately 3.2 miles northeast of the control tower of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport and approximately half a mile northeast of the St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS).
The HISS/FUTURA site and surrounding properties were contaminated through historic storage and transportation practices associated with radioactive materials and residue, and the spread of contamination from stockpiled material by rain and wind.
Ore residues and process wastes containing uranium and radium stored at SLAPS were purchased by the Continental Mining and Milling Company and were moved to HISS/FUTURA in 1966. These materials were generated at the St. Louis Downtown Site, from 1942 to 1957. Residues on the properties in 1966 included a variety of materials totaling over 115,000 tons of material containing over 68 tons of uranium. Over the next three years, some of the material was shipped to Colorado for processing. In December 1970, an estimated 18,700 tons of material remained at the Latty Avenue properties.
In April 1974, then-owner Cotter Corporation informed the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that some of the remaining material had been shipped in mid-1973 to Colorado, and that the remaining material, leached barium sulfate, had been mixed with 12 to18 inches of soil, then transported to a landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri. Cleanup at this landfill is not a part of FUSRAP responsibility.
Following removal of the piles at HISS/FUTURA, the owner of the FUTURA site demolished one building, excavated portions of the western half of the property, paved certain areas and erected several new buildings. This resulted in contaminated material; which was stored at the HISS site. Contaminated materials from other cleanups along Latty Avenue were added to the pile. By 1985, a total of approximately 32,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and material was stored at HISS.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed HISS/FUTURA properties on the National Priorities List in 1989, requiring cleanup to proceed under the guidelines of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. In 1990, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the EPA signed an agreement that established an environmental review procedure and schedule for cleanup of HISS/FUTURA and nearby properties.
The USACE’s 2005 Record of Decision for North County Sites (NC ROD) identified the final remedy for not only the HISS/FUTURA contamination, but also SLAPS and North County VPs. Upon completion of the excavations of FUSRAP, the responsibility for tracking areas that did not met cleanup goals will revert to DOE.
The final remedy consisted of excavation of materials to achieve cleanup goals. All accessible contaminated soil (soil that can be reached for cleanup) and material were disposed of off-site at a properly permitted facility. Starting in 2008, the USACE cleaned up 53,800 cubic yards of contaminated soil at HISS and 20,950 cubic yards at FUTURA. This work was completed and documented in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
Some currently inaccessible contaminated soil (contaminated soil that cannot be reached for cleanup) at HISS/FUTURA remains under FUTURA buildings, under and near the Latty Avenue roadway at HISS/FUTURA, and under two utility poles at FUTURA.
Upon completion of all North St. Louis County excavation work, any remaining contamination above cleanup goals at HISS/FUTURA will be addressed with property use restrictions. Once cleanup is completed, oversight of any property use restrictions will be turned over to DOE.
What are North County VPs?
North County Vicinity Properties (North County VPs) are a set of individually identified properties near SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA, within the broad general boundaries of Lindbergh Blvd. to the west, Pershall Road to the north, St. Louis Lambert International Airport to the south, and North Hanley Road to the east. The North County VPs consist of 96 properties.
Some North County VPs were contaminated directly from wind and rain spreading materials from the source areas at SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA. Other North County VPs were suspected or known to be contaminated from hauling contaminated materials around the area in open top trucks, which left the materials exposed and vulnerable to wind and rain erosion. A history of the materials that contaminated the North County VPs is discussed in the SLDS, SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA tabs.
Environmental Restoration for North County VPs
A history of U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) involvement in FUSRAP and the 2005 Record of Decision for North County Sites is included in the SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA tabs. The major sources for contamination of North County VPs were SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA. Cleanup of the accessible contaminated soil (soil that can be reached for cleanup) was finished in these areas in 2009, 2013 and 2014 respectively.
By the end of 2018, more than 90 percent of the North County VPs were either cleaned up by USACE, or after sampling, determined by USACE to not require cleanup.
Current activities at North County VPs include cleanup of accessible contaminated soil at IA-09 former Ballfields north of SLAPS. Inaccessible contaminated soil (contaminated soil that cannot be reached for cleanup) remains under roads, railroads, utilities and buildings. Other areas of accessible contamination at North County VPs have been identified for future USACE cleanup. Further sampling may identify other additional areas that require cleanup. Upon completion of all North County St. Louis excavation work, any remaining contamination above cleanup goals at North County VPs will be addressed with property use restrictions. Once cleanup is completed, oversight of any property use restrictions will be turned over to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Coldwater Creek - north of Pershall Road, to its confluence with the Missouri River - is considered a single North County Vicinity Property. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) identifies specific areas within and near the ten-year flood plain of Coldwater Creek as Coldwater Creek Properties.
Coldwater Creek Properties were contaminated by runoff that moved contamination from the source areas of the St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS) and Hazelwood Interim Storage Site (HISS) and the former company known in historic Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) project documents as FUTURA, into the creek and onto its banks and flood plain. A history of these contaminated materials is discussed in the St. Louis Downtown Site, SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA tabs. Coldwater Creek flows through several commercial and residential neighborhoods and parks before reaching the Missouri River. Contamination moved historically down the creek and was deposited downstream in the banks and flood plain, especially prior to the cleanup of SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA. This has resulted in hundreds of properties requiring investigation and possible cleanup.
In response to community concerns related to Coldwater Creek in North St. Louis County, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) performed cancer inquiries in 2013 and 2014. In the April of 2019, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released a final report of their public health assessment conducted to identify potential exposures to FUSRAP contamination, estimate increased risk of harmful health effects from identified exposure, and recommend actions to lessen any identified health impacts.
A discussion of USACE involvement in FUSRAP cleanup and the 2005 Record of Decision for the St. Louis North County Sites that were the major sources of contamination to Coldwater Creek Properties is included in the SLAPS and HISS/FUTURA tabs.
Cleanup of the accessible contaminated soil at HISS/FUTURA (soil that can be reached for cleanup) was completed between 2009 and 2014.
From 2015 to 2018, sampling by USACE identified parts of St. Cin Park, Duchesne Park, and the Palm Drive and Chez Paree residential areas for cleanup. Cleanup of these properties was completed by mid-2018. Forty-two other Coldwater Creek Properties have been sampled and do not require cleanup.
Sampling results have identified a property near Duchesne Park, belonging to the Archdiocese of St. Louis that requires cleanup. All Coldwater Creek Properties from Pershall Road to St. Denis Bridge have been sampled. Based on sampling results, some properties will require additional sampling and possible cleanup. USACE sampling of areas downstream of St. Denis Bridge to New Halls Ferry Road is underway. When a property requiring cleanup is identified by USACE, the cleanup is then scheduled, completed and documented.
Upon completion of all North County St. Louis excavation work, any remaining contamination above cleanup goals at Coldwater Creek Properties will be addressed with property use restrictions. Once cleanup is completed, oversight of any property use restrictions will be turned over to the U.S. Department of Energy.
More About FUSRAP
EPA - Radioactively Contaminated Sites
Army Corps of Engineers - St. Louis District
U.S. Department of Energy - Legacy Management
Other Sites of Interest
Missouri Department of Natural Resources
State of Missouri