Weldon Spring Site, and St. Charles

About 20 miles from Times Beach (where contaminated soil destroyed a town) is the Weldon Spring Site.  In 1941 the Army, under a state of emergency, acquired 17,232 acres of land here for the production of explosives to use in world War II.  576 citizens were given 45 days to move out of their homes so they could flatten the land and build a TNT production plant.  In 1957 the land was converted to a uranium processing plant for use in the Atom bomb. Then in 1967 the Army decided to use the plant for production of “Agent Orange” for the Vietnam War.

Weldon Spring Disposal Cell

After all that, the land was severely contaminated, there were barrels of unknown chemicals and materials, and the water was toxic.  It took several years and several different technologies to treat the contaminated materials.   What was left is buried here under this big pile of rocks and other materials.  The disposal cell covers about 45 acres and provides long-term isolation for 1.48 million cubic yards of chemical and low-level radioactive waste.  The “last rock” was placed on the cap of the storage cell on October 23, 2001.

Weldon Spring Site Interpretive Center

There is an interpretive center here that does an amazing job of explaining exactly what happened over the years since they forced those people out of their homes for all this.  They say that the amount of radiation coming from this pile is less than what you would receive standing in your own back yard.  Completely safe.  We did walk to the top of the pile, nice view up there.

View from top of the Disposal Cell

Main Street at St. Charles

Next we went to visit the historic town of St. Charles, first Missouri state capitol state historic site.  This is a popular tourist destination.  The old main street goes on for several blocks and is filled with nice shops, restaurants and other historic attractions, many housed in original 18th and 19th century buildings. 

Louis & Clark and their dog, Seaman.

1n 1804, at the request of President Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark left from Saint Charles to explore new lands from Saint Charles to the Pacific Ocean. 

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