An independent report reveals dangerous levels of radioactive material inside a North County school

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – A north St. Louis County elementary school found dangerous levels of radioactive waste inside a north St. Louis County elementary school, according to an independent report split from a report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Hazelwood School District has authorized new independent testing of hazardous materials inside and immediately outside the school due to radioactive fallout from World War II bomb-making in the area. Flooding affected areas along Coldwater Creek, where Yana Elementary is located.

The 2022 independent report follows a pilot report by the US Army Corps of Engineers that began in 2018. The Corps of Engineers is the federal agency responsible for testing and ensuring the safety of materials/areas.

According to the school district, an inspection by the Corps of Engineers found safe levels of the material near the school. A new independent 2022 report called the Army Corps’ testing incomplete and inadequate because samples were not collected from inside school buildings or the soil immediately surrounding school buildings.

“My level of concern is almost at an all-time high. It’s everything we’ve been thinking and worrying about that could be true,” said Hazelwood parent Ashley Burno. “The Army Corps of Engineers has absolutely found some of this material. They found thorium, radium and uranium. We asked the Army Corps of Engineers to enter our school building. To go to the school grounds and they refused.”

A new independent report says it was impossible to assess the risk to Jana Elementary students and staff because the Army Corps’ inspection was limited to outside buildings.

“We hope they take these results very seriously. We don’t necessarily need additional approval from the Army Corps of Engineers at this time,” Burneau added. “We need the Army Corps of Engineers to clean up the mess.”

Hazelwood School District released the following statement:

“The Hazelwood School District is aware of the report of radioactive contamination at Jana Elementary School. Safety is always our top priority and we are actively discussing the implications of the findings. The Board of Education will consult with attorneys and experts in this investigation to determine next steps.”

“We want the next steps to be a strong and sustained commitment by our school leaders to clean up this mess at Yana Elementary School,” Burno said.

The US Army Corps of Engineers in the St. Louis area is aware of the new report. It will continue with News 4 in the coming days.

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