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Cherokee County Baxter Springs and Treece
Cherokee County, Kansas

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Site Description

The Cherokee County site, located in southeastern Kansas, includes mine waste contamination in several former mining areas. The Cherokee County site is part of an area known as the Tri-State Mining District, which ranked as one of the world?s highest producers of lead and zinc. It covers a 2,500-square-mile area in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.

Two large mining areas located around and within the cities of Baxter Springs and Treece, KS, are two of seven sub sites that make up the overall Cherokee County site. Mining at Baxter and Treece took place from about 1917 to 1970. A great deal of the mine waste has been removed over the years for commercial and fill purposes, but approximately 7 million cubic yards of surface mine waste remains at Baxter Springs and Treece, covering approximately 1,100 acres. Lead, cadmium and zinc are the main contaminants of concern in surface soil, sediment, surface water and shallow ground water.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • In 1997, EPA selected a remedy for the Baxter Springs and Treece sub sites that addressed heavy-metal contaminated surface soil at residences and shallow ground water at both sub sites. The remedy also included actions for mine waste at the Baxter Springs sub site.
  • In 2000, after negotiations with EPA, responsible parties cleaned up lead-contaminated soil at 87 residential properties. Additionally, in 2004, responsible parties excavated, consolidated and capped approximately 700,000 cubic yards of mine waste over 160 acres.
  • In 2006, EPA selected the final cleanup plan for mine waste at both sub sites. The plan includes excavation, consolidation, and capping the mine waste with a soil cap.
  • Due to the large mine waste volume, EPA will conduct the cleanup plan design and action in three phases. In July 2007, EPA completed the first design phase, which addressed approximately 2.2 million cubic yards and 386 acres.

Current Funding Status

  • In Fiscal Year 2008, EPA obligated approximately $4.7 million for the start of the final surface mine waste cleanup.
  • To date, EPA has obligated a total of nearly $36.8 million for cleanup activities at the entire Cherokee County site.

For more information on this site, please read the Cherokee County fact sheet (PDF) (11 pp, 56K, http://www.epa.gov/region7/cleanup/npl_files/ksd980741862.pdf) on the Region 7 Superfund web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • Cleanup of approximately 160 acres of mine waste at the Baxter Springs sub site by responsible parties
  • Selection of the final cleanup plan for all remaining surface mine waste at the two sub sites in 2006
  • Final surface mine waste cleanup will begin in fall 2008

 

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