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Fact Sheet

February 2012

EPA Announces a Public Availability Session to Share Information About Its Findings and Next Steps at Iron Mountain Lake Subsite, Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site, St. Francois County, Missouri


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 received a request from the City of Iron Mountain Lake in July 2011, asking for EPA to assist the community by screening city-owned properties for lead contamination. Between October and November 2011, EPA staff (in coordination with the city and private homeowners) have conducted field work by collecting soil, gravel, and groundwater samples to identify and define the area and extent of any potential contamination within city limits. Iron Mountain Lake is a subsite of the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site, which EPA has worked in and around since 2000. Mine waste has historically been used in St. Francois County, Missouri as road base, as fill in commercial and residential properties, and on large land plots, such as school ball fields and park areas.

EPA will host a Public Availability Session on Thursday, March 8th at Iron Mountain Lake City Hall to: 1) introduce our staff and contractors to the community; 2) answer questions about residential soil sampling; and 3) provide information on the history of EPA’s involvement in St. Francois County.

If you cannot attend this Public Availability Session, EPA officials will be working in the community and can set up individual meetings with property owners upon request.


EPA will hold an availability session to share information about its role in the Iron Mountain Lake community. Meeting information follows:

Thursday, March 8, 2012
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Iron Mountain Lake City Hall
591 North Lakeshore Drive
Bismarck, Missouri

EPA staff members will be available to discuss site activities and answer questions.


The subsite is located in the southwest corner of St. Francois County. It is located approximately 12 miles from Farmington and eight miles from Ironton, off of Missouri Route NN.

An iron mine existed before the community of Iron Mountain Lake was formed. The mine is located approximately one mile northwest of the community. In or about 1847, the company that operated the mine, the Iron Mountain Company, constructed a lake in a valley on their property. The water from the lake was used for operations at the iron mine.

The lake became a popular recreational and social gathering spot after its construction. In the early 1900s, the property was conveyed to a development company. Several entities managed and developed the site through the years. Today, a city exists around the lake. According to the 2010 Census, there are 367 residential homes in the Iron Mountain Lake community.

Iron Mountain Lake, as stated earlier, is a subsite of the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site in St. Francois County, Missouri, where EPA has been conducting response actions at residential properties, schools, child-care facilities, and park areas for more than a decade. These areas are 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.


Young children are typically exposed to lead by playing in contaminated soils and then putting dirty fingers in their mouths, and by breathing contaminated dust. Lead can build up in children’s bodies and can cause lead poisoning. Although the effects of lead poisoning are a potential concern for humans of all ages, children younger than seven years old and pregnant women are especially at risk. It is important that children in this age range be tested every year, because lead-poisoned children may not look or act sick.

Blood-lead tests can be performed at the St. Francois County Health Center. For additional information, please call (573) 431-1947.

Lead exposure and its effects can be reduced by washing hands after playing outside and before meals, vacuuming often, wet dusting and mopping, and eating a diet high in calcium and iron.


The administrative record and site-related documents for the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site are available for review at the following locations:


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

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


EPA Region 7 is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact Jonathan Cooper at 1-800-223-0425 or by email at cooper.jonathan@epa.gov at least a week in advance of the meeting. Speech or hearing impaired individuals should email or call using the local relay service.

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