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Fact Sheet

October 2011

EPA Announces Availability of the Record of Decision, Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site - Operable Unit 1, St. Francois County, Missouri


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 announces the availability of the Record of Decision (PDF) (133 pp, 8MB, About PDF) that presents the selected remedy for the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site (Site), Operable Unit (OU) 1. This OU consists of residential properties and high-child exposure areas exceeding screening levels of 400 parts per million (ppm) in St. Francois County. This action focuses on properties in the towns of Park Hills, Desloge, Bonne Terre, Leadwood, Leadington, and Doe Run, as well as rural residential properties surrounding these communities. (Note:  The city of Park Hills was created when the former towns of Flat River, Esther, Rivermines, and Elvins were combined.) EPA took public comments on the Proposed Plan that supports this Site action from July 22nd to August 22nd (first 30-day period). After an additional 30 days for comment was requested by the public, EPA extended the comment period to September 22nd. A public meeting was held on August 4th.


This Site is a part of Missouri’s Old Lead Belt, where mining and milling have occurred for more than a century. Over time, mining wastes containing elevated levels of lead were left behind, posing a threat to human health and the environment. EPA and Missouri state agencies have been addressing lead contaminated soils in St. Francois County for more than a decade, providing health education, soil assessments, and a variety of response actions.


The selected remedy focuses on the remediation of lead contaminated mine ore processing waste in residential areas of the Site. For the purposes of this Record of Decision (ROD), the term residential properties includes properties that contain single- and multi-family dwellings, apartment complexes, vacant lots in residential areas, schools, daycare centers, playgrounds, parks, and green ways. This cleanup action is one part of EPA’s overall efforts to clean up environmental contamination resulting from historic lead mining operations at the Site. Cleanup activities of the original tailings piles (source areas) have already occurred and are nearly complete. EPA believes that the Selected Remedy is protective of human health and the environment.

The Selected Remedy includes: the excavation of residential soil until lead concentrations are below 400 parts per million (ppm) in the top 12 inches, or below 1,200 ppm below 12 inches down to 24 inches below ground surface (bgs); transportation of contaminated soil to on-site soil repositories; replacement of contaminated soil with clean backfill; and vegetative cover and institutional controls (ICs). Any properties with lead levels remaining above 1,200 ppm at 24 inches bgs would be subject to ICs. Further detail on the selected remedy can be found in the ROD document which resides in EPA’s Administrative Record (see under Additional Information below).


The Record of Decision and other site-related documents are part of the Administrative Record, which is available for review during regular business hours at the following locations:

St. Francois County Health Center
1025 West Main Street
Park Hills, Missouri 63601
(573) 431-1947


U.S. EPA - Region 7
Records Center
901 North 5th Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:

Debbie Kring
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 7
901 North 5th Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
Phone: (913) 551-7725
Toll-free: 1-800-223-0425
Email: kring.debbie@epa.gov

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