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EPA Administrator Wheeler Recognizes Progress at Madison County Mines Superfund Site

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Ben Washburn (

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., April 1, 2019) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced significant progress at the Madison County Mines Superfund Site, which has been on the Administrator’s emphasis list of Superfund sites targeted for immediate, intense action.

After achieving critical milestones, EPA removed the Madison County Anschutz Mine Site in Fredericktown, Missouri, from the list. The site was one of three updates made to the list. There is a total of 15 Superfund sites on the revised list, with 13 sites removed to date.  

“Removing Madison County Anschutz Mine and Tar Creek, and adding Olin Chemical to the Administrator’s Emphasis List, demonstrates EPA’s dedication to accelerating cleanup activities that protect human health and the environment and improve local communities,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The cleanups at these sites further the commitment EPA made in the Federal Lead Action Plan by managing lead contamination at Superfund sites, thereby reducing exposure to community residents.”

The Madison County Anschutz Mine was placed on the Administrator’s Emphasis List to promote the timely implementation of a property-wide cleanup of historical, surficial mine waste contamination proposed by the new owners, which will also allow for the beneficial reuse of the property and potentially create significant economic benefit for the local community. The new property owners intend to reopen a former cobalt mine, which could employ hundreds of residents. EPA and the new owners signed an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent to conduct the work.

“Reopening the mine represents a tremendous economic opportunity for the Fredericktown community,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “The property owners’ efforts to restore mining operations and clean up the mine demonstrate how economic and environmental revitalization go hand-in-hand.”

Since the cleanup began at the Madison County Mines Site, EPA has completed the remediation of over 626,000 cubic yards of soil at more than 1,900 residential properties in and around Fredericktown, in addition to cleaning up approximately 87 acres of mine waste. EPA’s response actions have resulted in a significant reduction of elevated blood lead in children tested throughout Madison County, where the percentage has dropped from around 27 percent in 1996 to less than 2 percent today.


EPA established the Administrator’s Emphasis List in December 2017, in response to recommendations from EPA’s Superfund Task Force. Each site on the Administrator’s Emphasis List has a short-term milestone to provide the basis for tracking progress at the site. EPA will consider removing a site from the list once the milestone is achieved. Removal from the Administrator’s Emphasis List does not change the site’s status on the National Priorities List. EPA remains dedicated to addressing risks at all Superfund sites, not just those on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. The Superfund Task Force Recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all Superfund sites. EPA continues to accelerate progress at Superfund sites across the country.

The updated Administrator’s emphasis list is available on EPA’s website, and at the latest information on the work of the Superfund Task Force is also available on EPA’s website.

Administrator Wheeler and Special Counsel Peter Wright have recused themselves at this time from participating in any of these particular matters that involve any of their former clients or former employers in the preceding two years.

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