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Texas Contractor Chosen to Continue Cleanup of Mine Waste in Cherokee County, Kan.

Release Date: 10/16/2008
Contact Information: Debbie Kring, (913) 551-7725,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Oct. 16, 2008) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected Encon International, Inc., of El Paso, Texas, to continue the cleanup of mine waste in Cherokee County, Kan., specifically around the cities of Baxter Springs and Treece.

The four-year contract (a base with three option years) with Encon is estimated to cost $20.5 million (inclusive of all options). Over the span of the contract, an estimated 2.2 million cubic yards of surface mine waste, covering approximately 386 acres, will be excavated, consolidated, regraded and vegetated with native warm season grasses. The contract includes an incentive clause to encourage the use of local products and services.

Because EPA has worked collaboratively on environmental characterization and cleanup work in Cherokee County since 1983, many areas within the 115-square mile site have already been addressed. The site represents the Kansas portion of the historic Tri-State Mining District, encompassing 2,500 square miles in southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma and southwest Missouri. Mining for lead and zinc began in Kansas in the 1870s and continued until 1970, leaving surface mine waste deposits throughout Cherokee County.

Elevated lead levels in the environment can pose threats to ecosystems and public health, especially for young children, pregnant women and the elderly.

The awarding of this contract to Encon is in keeping with EPA's strategy for at least three percent of its contracts to be with service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The strategy supports the President's 2004 Executive Order to strengthen opportunities for service-disabled veterans in federal contracting.