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Tar Creek Agreement Reached
Release Date: 12/9/2003
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.
Today a new multi-million dollar agreement was reached between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Interior and two mining companies to coordinate the process of cleaning up the large chat piles and mill pond mining waste at the Tar Creek Superfund site in Oklahoma.
Today's agreement is a long-awaited step forward in drawing the blueprint for cleanup at one of the nation's largest Superfund sites. The agreement, a legally binding Administrative Order on Consent, complements the recently announced compact among the federal partners to speed up efforts to clean up the site and a large scale plan put forward by U.S. Senator James Inhofe, the state of Oklahoma and tribal leaders.
"This agreement marks unprecedented cooperation between federal, state, tribal and local interests to respond to the challenges at Tar Creek. I am confident that working together to build a comprehensive approach is the only way we can accomplish our mission of cleaning up this huge mess," EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene said.
The agreement focuses on identifying and selecting potential cleanup methods to address large chat piles and mill ponds.
Blood lead levels in area children were reduced by half as a result of the EPA residential cleanup that began in 1995. Contaminated soil from about 2,000 residential properties, three day care centers and 20 public access areas in five communities has been removed and replaced with clean soil.
The Tar Creek Superfund site includes approximately 40 square miles in northern Ottowa County, Oklahoma, where lead and zinc were mined from 1891 until 1970. More information about Tar Creek is available at https://www.epa.gov/earth1r6/6sf/pdffiles/tarcreek.pdf. A copy of the agreement and other supporting documents is available at www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/tar_creek_aoc.pdf and www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/tar_creek_atch.pdf.