Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cherokee County Cleanup

Residents of Cherokee County, Kansas have been living with the aftereffects of over 70 years of hard lead and zinc mining in southeastern Kansas for decades. This has left the area with piles of "chat" and lead contamination. The city of Treece, Kansas has been a part of the Tar Creek Superfund Site that extends south into Oklahoma. In April the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced to Treece, Kansas residents that their homes will be bought out and they can be relocated. Last week, Treece residents listened to a hearing in nearby Picher, Oklahoma as to how that buyout will be carried out.

Read about Treece from The New York Times

Learn about the buyout from the KC Tribune

Read about the EPA's restrictions on where Treece residents may relocate from the Pittsburg Morning Sun

Learn more about the history of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) involvment in Southeast Kansas at:

Read the report about the results of a public health screening event that occurred in Treece, Kansas on September 8th and 9th, 2009:

Read the report on zinc, lead, and cadmium in Tar Creek at:

Learn about other EPA cleanup sites in Kansas at:

You can read more in print by interlibrary loaning state and federal documents from the State Library or the Kansas State Historical Society. Below are links to the online catalog for titles related to Cherokee County and the contamination:

Assessment of contaminated streambed sediment in the Kansas part of the historic Tri-State Lead and Zinc Mining District, Cherokee County, 2004 / by Larry M. Pope ; prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Reston, Va. : U.S. Geological Survey, 2005

Radioactivity surveys in the Kansas part of the tri-state zinc and lead mining district, Cherokee County, Kansas / by Robert M. Dreyer

Assessment of water resources in lead-zinc mined areas in Cherokee County, Kansas, and adjacent areas / by Timothy B. Spruill

A study of stability problems and hazard evaluation of the Kansas portion of the tri-state mining area / [James R. McCauley, Lawrence L. Brady, Frank W. Wilson]
[Washington, D.C.?] : Bureau of Mines, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, [1983]

Abandoned non-fuel mineral pits and quarries in Kansas, 1995 / authors, David A. Grisafe, Jorgina A. Ross, Douglas L. Beene

Contamination of wells completed in the Roubidoux aquifer by abandoned zinc and lead mines, Ottawa County, Oklahoma [electronic resource] / by Scott Christenson ; prepared in cooperation with the Oklahoma Water Resources Board

Kansas Laws, etc
Mined Land Conservation and Reclamation Board : governing statutes and regulations
[Topeka, Kan. : Kansas Corporation Commission, 1986]

Article contact: Kim Harp


Mikethelawstudent said...

Wow thats crazy stuff. do these people need to be moved because the lead pollution is to high or because of the clean up efforts?



The State Library of Kansas said...

Mike- the lead level is too high in the children and adults that were tested. Clean up efforts have been underway for some time now, but it's just too hazardous to live there for anyone.

freda said...

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