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NPL Site Narrative for Former United Zinc & Associated Smelters

Iola, Kansas
Allen County

iconSite Location:
   The Former United Zinc & Associated Smelters site is located in and around the city of Iola, Allen County, Kansas. The site excludes areas that are being addressed by state response programs. Contamination related to Associated Smelters extends into numerous residential properties stretching westward from Highway 169 along both sides of Highway 54.

iconSite History:
   In the early 1900s, the discovery and subsequent use of natural gas led to the development of zinc and lead smelting operations in southeast Kansas. The Former United Zinc & Associated Smelters site was one of several zinc and lead smelting operations in the area. These smelters operated primarily between 1902 and 1925. The main Former United Zinc facility is located on the east side of Iola within a mixture of residential and commercial properties. All on-site smelter facilities, including furnaces and processing facilities, building foundations and rail ties have been removed, and the property has been graded, leveled and developed since the 1920s. Smelter waste piles located on the site when the operation was discontinued appear to have been mixed with local material and spread throughout the area. There is another former smelter operation located within the site that will be addressed.

iconSite Contamination/Contaminants:
   Residential yards and non-residential properties are contaminated with elevated levels of lead, arsenic, cadmium and zinc which may be associated with historical lead and zinc smelting.

iconPotential Impacts on Surrounding Community/Environment:
   Residential and commercial properties are contaminated. The property where the former smelter operated is mainly vacant but includes a few active businesses.

iconResponse Activities (to date):
   To date, the EPA has sampled 1,686 out of approximately 3,400 residential yards. Of the 1,686 residential yards sampled, approximately 530 had elevated levels of lead above 400 parts per million (ppm). The EPA has excavated approximately 130 residential yards with lead levels above 800 ppm and replaced the contaminated soils with clean backfill soils followed by reestablishment of grass yards.

iconNeed for NPL Listing:
   The state of Kansas referred the site to the EPA for Superfund removal action in September 2005 because of the heavy metal contamination. Kansas and the EPA evaluated other cleanup programs and no other options were available. The EPA received letters of support for placing the Former United Zinc & Associated Smelters site on the NPL from the governor of Kansas and the mayor of Iola.

[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.

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