|
|
The Lake News Online
  • Cleanup of lead at eastern Missouri park nearing an end

  • A three-year project to clean up lead pollution is nearing an end at a popular Missouri state park on the site of a shuttered mine.
    • email print
  • A three-year project to clean up lead pollution is nearing an end at a popular Missouri state park on the site of a shuttered mine.
    Francois County's St. Joe State Park, known for its sand flats, hills and 2,000 acres set aside for all-terrain vehicles, sits on land in the eastern part of the state that once included a dump for mine waste called tailings, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported this week.
    St. Joe Mineral Corporation, which became natural resources company Doe Run Resources Corporation in 1994, mined lead in the area from about 1923 to 1972, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company gifted Missouri the land that became the park.
    A 2011 agreement between the business and the state's natural resources department has allowed the park to remain open, with Doe Run Resources Corp. leading the $8.2 million cleanup. Tests have found the park's soil is contaminated with lead from the mining waste.
    The EPA sought in 2007 to move riders away from the sand flats covered with tailings, citing concerns the sand could be tracked out of the park on tires and clothing. They said the sand could also be washed or blown out of the park into nearby communities. The park opened a wash station to rinse tailings off ATVs and dirt bikes.
    Signs posted throughout the park, which saw about 563,000 visitors last year, warn the tailings may pose a health risk. The park also encourages visitors to remove as much dust and soil as possible from clothing, equipment and vehicles.
    The EPA won't consider the cleanup project finished until spring. They want to make sure there is no runoff from areas that were replanted and resoiled.
    "There's work still to be done, but the trails are indeed OK for people to use," EPA spokesman Chris Whitley said. "They are completed and they are safe for use now."

        calendar