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EPA proposes plan for next phase of Tar Creek cleanup

Release Date: 07/25/2007
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Tressa Tillman at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

Remedy to address chat, soil and water contamination from Superfund site

(Dallas, Texas – July 25, 2007) The Environmental Protection Agency has developed a plan for the next phase of cleanup at the Tar Creek Superfund site.

The proposed plan presents EPA’s preferred cleanup method for addressing environmental hazards from past mining operations at the site and calls for consolidating chat for commercial sale, on-site disposal, removing contaminated soils, and providing alternative water sources for affected residents.

“EPA and our many partners are working diligently to clean up Tar Creek and protect the people who live in the communities impacted by the site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “It is a complex task, and we remain committed to finding solutions that will result in a safer, healthier environment for residents.”

The proposed plan, titled “Tar Creek Operable Unit 4 (OU4) - Chat Piles, Other Mine and Mill Waste, and Smelter Waste,” addresses source materials, smelter waste, rural residential yard contamination, transition zone soil contamination, and contamination in water drawn from rural residential wells. Source materials refers to mine and mill waste including chat, fines, overburden, development rock, and other tailings. The plan also allows for the continued sale of chat under guidelines established by a new EPA Chat Rule (40 Code of Federal Regulations 278) finalized this month.

EPA incorporated input from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma and ten downstream Tribes into the plan. A 30-day public comment period on the proposed plan will begin July 30, 2007, and conclude August 30, 2007. The public is encouraged to comment on the alternatives presented in the proposed plan or suggest other alternatives. Individuals can email comments to EPA community involvement coordinator Janetta Coats at coats.janetta@epa.gov. EPA will select a final remedy after considering all information submitted during the comment period and may modify the plan based on new information or public comments.

More on the proposed plan: http://www.epa.gov/earth1r6/6sf/6sf-decisiondocs.htm

More on the chat rule: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/other/mining/chat/

More on activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6

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