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EPA in Missouri

Newton County Mine Tailings National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Site, Newton County, Missouri - Fact Sheet, July 2018

EPA Remedial Action Update

INTRODUCTION

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers continue to make progress on remedial activities at the Newton County Mine Tailings National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Site (site). The remedial action includes cleanup of heavy metals-contaminated mining wastes, soil, and sediment. The primary contaminants of concern at this site are lead, zinc, and cadmium. This Fact Sheet provides an update regarding EPA’s cleanup activities and progress at the site.

BACKGROUND

The site includes approximately 300 square miles in northern Newton County, Missouri, and is part of the Tri-State Mining District. Mining, milling, and smelting of lead and zinc ore at the site started in the mid-1800s and continued for more than 100 years. These activities generated about 150 million tons of waste, which was dumped on the ground surface in piles of chat and rock. Over time, these piles caused the contamination of groundwater, surface water, surface soils, and stream sediments throughout the site.
 
EPA began investigating the contamination at the site in 1991. As a result of these investigations, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the site in 2010. The ROD provides details on how EPA will clean up contaminated wastes, soils, and sediments at the site.
 
Cleanup actions to address site contamination include the following:
  • Deep tilling of source materials where only thin layers of wastes remain at the surface
  • Excavation and removal of mining and milling wastes, contaminated soil, and stream sediments
  • Disposal and capping of contaminated material at a repository in Granby, Missouri
  • Re-contouring and revegetating excavated areas
  • Institutional controls to regulate future development at the repository

SCHEDULE

EPA hires professional contactors to complete the cleanup work at remedial sites. The first phase of work in Granby was completed in 2017. This work included the excavation of 771,000 cubic yards of waste and cleanup of 100 acres.

The next phase of construction work is anticipated to complete the remediation of the Granby areas. During the next contract period, EPA will continue work on road repair and revegetation. Currently, EPA is conducting sampling in areas of potential waste throughout the county. Nearly 1.5 million cubic yards of additional waste was identified through review of aerial photography and discussions with property owners. The culmination of this sampling effort and its impact to the selected remedy will be documented in an upcoming Explanation of Significant Differences document that will include a period for public comment.

ABOUT LEAD CONTAMINATION

Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Children are more sensitive to lead than adults, and can develop lifelong learning disabilities and behavior problems from lead exposure. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should also avoid exposure to lead to protect their children.
 
Lead poisoning can cause these health effects in infants and young children:
  • Slowed physical growth
  • Hearing problems
  • Nervous system damage
  • Learning difficulties
  • Behavior problems including hyperactivity (easily excitable or upset, unable to concentrate, short attention span)
  • Decreased intelligence (I.Q.) scores

For more information about lead, visit ATSDR’s Lead page, which includes a related fact sheet.

Lead exposure and its effects can be reduced by:
  • Washing hands after playing outside and before meals
  • Vacuuming often and dusting with a damp cloth to help remove dust that might have lead in it
  • Eating a diet high in calcium and iron and low in fat

BLOOD LEAD TESTING

The only way to know if your child has elevated blood lead levels is to have his or her blood tested. EPA encourages parents to have their children tested for lead exposure. Talk to your pediatrician, general physician, or local health department about what you can do and about testing your child. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check you or your child for lead exposure.

For more information on blood testing for children, you can contact:

Newton County Health Department
812 W Harmony St.
Neosho, MO 64850
Phone: 417-451-3743

INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD AND ADDITIONAL SITE DETAILS 

For more information about lead, visit:

INFORMATION REPOSITORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD

An Information Repository and Administrative Record were established for the Newton County Mine Tailings NPL Superfund Site, which contain site-related documents and are available for review online.

EPA CONTACT INFORMATION

If you have questions about this Fact Sheet, need additional information about the site, and/or would like to receive site updates, please contact EPA:

Elizabeth Kramer
Community Engagement Specialist
Enforcement Coordination Office
U.S. EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, KS 66219
Phone: 913-551-7186
Toll-free: 1-800-223-0425
Email: kramer.elizabeth@epa.gov
 
Elizabeth Hagenmaier
Remedial Project Manager
Superfund Division
U.S. EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, KS 66219
Phone: 913-551-7939
Toll-free: 1-800-223-0425