On October 15, 2004, Mr. Chuck Hooper of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) responded to a report of an orphan radiological source located at a home in South Kansas City, Missouri. The address of the home is 1100 East 110th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. The home was vacant during the course of this event. The last person to occupy the home was Nadine Hull. Ms. Hull recently passed away.
Ms. Hull’s husband, Ralph Hull, who passed away a few years ago, had apparently acquired the subject radiological source in the 1980's while working on a construction job. The source was reported to have come from a dermatology clinic located near the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO., that was being remodeled by Mr. Hull. This information was provided by Mr. Walter Moore, former son-in-law of Ms. Hull and current executor of the estate which controls the property.
During the initial response by the DHSS, Mr. Hooper performed a survey of the home. He did not find any abnormal readings, outside of the source itself. Mr. Hooper performed a gamma spectral analysis on the source and identified it as Radium-226. The findings were consistent with markings on the packaging of the source.
The DHSS requested that the EPA respond to the orphan radiological source on October 21, 2004. On-scene coordinators Heath Smith and Huu Ngo, along with Stephen Chambers the EPA Region 7 Radiation Safety Officer, immediately responded.
The EPA initially responded to the orphan radiological source October 21, 2004. As reported by the DHSS, the radiological source was located outside of the house and under a back patio. The area where the source was located, was enclosed by pickets. Access to the area was controlled by a locked gate. The source itself was housed in what appears to be the original lead pig. The lead pig was enclosed in a metal paint can. Readings taken by the EPA revealed the activity of the unshielded source to be between 30 and 40 milli-curies.
It was determined that the source would be more secure if it was moved inside the vacant house. The source had to be left on-site as no other storage locations were immediately available to accept radiological waste. The source was double bagged, secured at the residence and shielded with lead blocks. Readings were taken around the shielded source to ensure no danger was present. Readings revealed levels of radiation to be within acceptable levels.
OSC Huu Ngo returned to the house on October 27, 2004, to verify DHSS's claim that there was no residual contamination inside the house. His findings were consistent with Mr. Hooper's earlier findings. No residual radiological contamination was found at the 1100 East 110th Street site.
On November 29, 2004, a Finding of Imminent and Substantial Endangerment authorization document was signed. This granted authority for the EPA to acquire disposal services for the radiological waste located 1100 East 110th Street, Kansas City, MO.
The source was removed from 1100 East 110th Street, Kansas City, MO., to a secure location on December 2, 2004, to await final transport to the facility that would ultimately dispose of the material.
The waste was transported by a special radiological waste broker, Chase Environmental Group, Inc, Knoxville, TN, to their associates facility, Alaron Corporation, Wampum, Pennsylvania, on December 9, 2004. The waste will remain there until the waste handler acquires enough radium waste to consolidate into one bulk package and ship to a disposal site that will accept radiological waste.
No further action is anticipated. No residual contamination was found at 1100 East 110th Street by either the Missouri DHSS or the EPA. The Alaron Corporation of Wampum, Pennsylvania, accepted ownership of the radioactive material on January 7, 2005.