May 26, 2022

Bush introduces Coldwater Creek Signage Act to Keep Residents Safe from Toxins in St. Louis Water

St. Louis, MO—  Today, Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), member of the House Oversight Subcommittee on the Environment, introduced the Coldwater Creek Signage Act, a key step in the process of preventing illness and cleaning up the local creek currently filled with dangerous radioactive Manhattan Project waste that has never been fully cleaned. 

During the Second World War, Coldwater Creek passed near prominent sites for the development of nuclear weapons during the Manhattan Project, with nearby areas eventually becoming a dumping ground for leftover radioactive waste. Decades later, those same toxic contaminants can still be found in the Creek. 

At present, there is no public signage in place along the Creek’s shore warning of the dangers the Creek’s potentially radioactive areas pose to community health and safety, despite requests from county officials dating back to the mid-1990s. These safety hazards threaten the lives of St. Louis’s children, including recent events that caused fatal drownings due to storm floods and impeded emergency rescue efforts. 

The Coldwater Creek Signage Act would:

  • Require signage to be posted, informing residents of the dangers of radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek; 

  • Fund a study by the Comptroller General of the United States to review ongoing efforts to clean up the Creek; and 

  • Generate a report on the status of clean up efforts, including recommendations for further action.

“Coldwater Creek runs along our backyards, our churchyards, our public parks, and our elementary schools,” said Congresswoman Cori Bush. “As we work to clean up our creek, we have to keep kids and families out of this toxic water. The Creek poses a severe public health threat to North County families — one that I’ve seen firsthand .When I lived near the Creek, my basement would regularly flood with potentially radioactive water and I had no idea it was so dangerous or if it would endanger the lives of my children. No family should have to deal with the uncertainty of their health and safety because of unidentified radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek. I am hopeful this legislation will move swiftly through the House and save lives in St. Louis.” 

"Almost thirty years ago citizens, community leaders, and stakeholders on the St. Louis Remediation Task Force recommended signs be put up along Coldwater Creek due to the danger of radioactive materials in the creek,” said Karen Nickel of Just Moms STL. “No one listened and people were and are still being harmed. This legislation being introduced by Congresswoman Bush is long overdue, and will save lives."  

“Many people living near Coldwater Creek are unaware of the dangers that waterway poses to their health, and cleanup of the area will take many years to complete,” said Jared Opsal, Executive Director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “This bill will help address that awareness gap by installing signage that explains the dangers of the creek to current and future residents of the area.”

Full bill text of the Coldwater Creek Signage Act can be found here

A one-pager of the Coldwater Creek Signage Act can be found here



Congresswoman Cori Bush sits on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees, serves as the Progressive Caucus Deputy Whip, and proudly represents St. Louis as a politivist in the halls of the United States Congress.