NPL Site Narrative for Washington County Lead District - Furnace Creek
WASHINGTON COUNTY LEAD DISTRICT - FURNACE CREEK
The Washington County Lead District - Furnace Creek (Furnace Creek) site is located in a heavily mined region of eastern Missouri known as the Washington County Lead District. The site includes residential areas within and around the towns of Caledonia, Irondale, Belgrade, and Hopewell. The Furnace Creek site includes contamination located within a 175 square mile area in the southeastern portion of Washington County, Missouri.
The Washington County Lead District is part of Missouri's Old Lead Belt, where lead mining has occurred for hundreds of years. The Old Lead Belt provided approximately 80 percent of the lead produced in the United States. Additionally, this area is part of the barite mineralization district of Missouri. After the Civil War, numerous small barite mines operated in Washington County, which was the world's leading producer of barite before declining in the 1980s. Many of the later large mining operations reworked lands that were previously hand mined for galena (mineral source of lead) or barite. Washington County has hosted more than 1,000 lead and barite mining, milling, or smelting sites.
The Furnace Creek site includes source piles, tailing ponds and residences with elevated levels of lead throughout the area. The piles primarily consist of overburden and tailings from mineral mining and processing. Heavy metal soil contamination is present at elevated concentrations at more than 400 residential properties. To date, there are more than 16 private residential wells with lead contamination.
Potential Impacts on Surrounding Community/Environment:
The Furnace Creek site includes elevated levels of heavy metals found during sampling conducted in 2009. Additionally, residential yards, ground water, and surface water have various elevated levels of heavy metals.
Response Activities (to date):
EPA response activities include providing bottled water to residences and excavation of more than 150 residential yards in the Furnace Creek area.
Need for NPL Listing:
The State of Missouri referred the site to EPA. Other federal and state cleanup programs were evaluated, but were not viable at this time.
[The description of the site (release) is based on information available at the time the site was evaluated with the HRS. The description may change as additional information is gathered on the sources and extent of contamination. See 56 FR 5600, February 11, 1991, or subsequent FR notices.]
For more information about the hazardous substances identified in this narrative summary, including general information regarding the effects of exposure to these substances on human health, please see the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) ToxFAQs. ATSDR ToxFAQs can be found on the Internet at ATSDR - ToxFAQs (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/index.asp) or by telephone at 1-888-42-ATSDR or 1-888-422-8737.