EPA says 50,000 tons of radioactive waste covered in Broken Arrow

BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — At first glance, it looks like sod on a yard, but there is a mixture of clay and grass seed covering what is believed to be nearly 50,000 tons of radioactive waste in Broken Arrow.

The site is also surrounded by a barbed wire fence, and a sign posted to keep residents off the site.

David Robertson, an onsite coordinator with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), told FOX23 the site is secure.

“There is really no exposure to that material,” Robertson said.

He added the samples taken nearby also came back as safe.

“We didn’t find any at all in the water and very low amounts ... in the sediment,” Robertson said.

He said no sampling was done in nearby neighborhoods.

“The state of Oklahoma, as I understand, has done sampling back there and didn’t have concerns,” Robertson said.

Radioactivity on the site has been known about four years in Broken Arrow, and has been discussed at council meetings with developers. Initially it was believed to have 3,000 tons of radioactive waste. In December, FOX23 was the first to report the EPA discovered the number was closer to 50,000 tons.

The EPA still said they did not feel the need to do testing in nearby neighborhoods.

“We haven’t found anything we looked we haven’t found where this material has migrated off site,” said Robertson.

The results of the creek water and creek sediment samples are on the EPA’s website.

In December, the EPA also decided that fencing was needed around the site.

“The EPA gets involved in a process and the process state asks us to look at the site and we evaluate it, and to see if it meets our standard to take some sort of action. We determined it met the standard for action and we took an action,” he said.

Before the fencing, it was not publicly known how much more radioactive material was on the site, and people in the area told FOX23 it was easy to get onto the grounds. Many said they have or know someone who has been on it.

FOX23 asked the EPA if this could cause any health concerns.

“EPA is not a health agency, so I can’t answer that question,” Robertson said.

The sign on the site’s fence directs anyone with questions to call the Department of Environmental Quality.

This is a developing story.