Midwest Flooding Hits Superfund Sites, Including Some With Radioactive Materials

March 26, 2019, 9:47 PM UTC

Several Midwestern states have been significantly impacted by recent extreme flooding, which has hit U.S. corn, soybean, and wheat farmers especially hard.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now says that flood waters have reached eight Superfund sites in Iowa, Missouri, and Nebraska, according to Bloomberg. Because flood water levels remain high, it isn’t possible for EPA personnel to reach the sites and test these sites, which are in need of major environmental cleanup due to the presence of hazardous waste and toxic chemicals such as arsenic and cyanide, to name a few of the poisonous chemicals found in areas now federally designated in need of decontamination. But officials at other environmental organizations say the EPA should treat the possibility of spreading contamination as the serious public health threat that it is. Some of the impacted sites contain radioactive materials, in addition to toxic chemical compounds.

Conditions may stay the same or even get worse before they improve. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its 2019 Spring Outlook in March, shortly after the Midwest flooding began, and predicted that historic, widespread flooding will continue through the month of May. So far, the floods of 2019 have killed at least four people, and at least one person is missing.