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Fact Sheet

July 2011

EPA Opens the Public Comment Period and Announces a Public Meeting on the Proposed Plan for Operable Unit 1 (OU-1) of the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site, St. Francois County, Missouri


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 has released the Proposed Plan (PDF) (48 pp, 2.1MB About PDF) for the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site (OU-1), which describes the Agency's preferred alternative for addressing the lead-contaminated soil in residential yards and high child exposure areas across St. Francois County. In addition, this Proposed Plan includes summaries of other alternatives evaluated for use at OU-1.

The Proposed Plan is now available for public review and comment. EPA is issuing this Plan as part of its public participation responsibilities under Section 117(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, as amended, (CERCLA), and Section 300.430(f)(2) of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). Following the comment period, EPA, in consultation with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), will select a final remedy for OU1, after reviewing and considering all information sub-mitted during the 30-day public comment period.

EPA will accept comments on this Proposed Plan during the Public Comment Period, which is July 22 through August 22, 2011.


EPA will hold a public meeting to present
cleanup options and take public comments
at the following time and location:

Thursday, August 4, 2011
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Mineral Area College
North College Center – Rooms A & B
5250 Flat River Road
Park Hills, Missouri


EPA Region 7 is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate in the public meeting, please notify the EPA Reasonable Accommodations Coordinator, Jonathan Cooper at 800-223-0425 or by email at cooper.jonathan@epa.gov at least seven days prior to the meeting.


The Big River Mine Tailings/St. Joe Minerals Corp. Superfund Site is a part of Missouri's Old Lead Belt, where mining and milling has 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.

There are currently four (4) operable units (OUs) that make up this Superfund site. In general, OUs are defined by one or more of the following categories:  geography, enforcement order, media (i.e., soil, groundwater), and activity. The OUs at this site are divided by activities, geography, and enforcement order as follows:

OU-00:  Removal (cleanup) activities at the pile locations (Bonne Terre, Leadwood, Federal, Elvins, and National), and at residential properties, and high child exposure areas (i.e., playgrounds, daycare facilities).

OU-1:  Stabilization of the Desloge Pile (completed in 2000) and remediation of contaminated residential yard soils and high child exposure areas throughout the Site that exceed lead screening levels of 400 parts per million (ppm).  The Proposed Plan being considered presently addresses the remainder of OU-1 residential properties and high child exposure areas.

OU-2:  Remedial (cleanup) action to address ecological risks and impacted watersheds associated with mine wastes. OU-02 will also include future work on the Doe Run Pile.

OU-3:  Removal (cleanup) actions to address specified properties inside the halo area (which is defined by proximity to lead sources).


OU-1 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.)



Threshold Criteria:

Balancing Criteria:

Modifying Criteria:


EPA's Preferred Alternative for OU-1 of the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site is Alternative No. 3 – Soil Removal with 24-inch Excavation with Limited Institutional Controls. Details of this preferred alternative are fully explained in the Proposed Plan, and will be discussed at the Public Meeting.


EPA encourages public participation and will not make any final decisions on a cleanup alternative until thoroughly reviewing all comments received from the public. The 30-day public comment period will begin July 22, 2011 and end on August 22, 2011. Upon completion of the public comment period, all comments will be reviewed and compiled into a Responsiveness Summary, which will become a part of EPA's Record of Decision for the Site.

Comments may be made at the public meeting or sent to EPA at the address below:

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


For additional details, EPA's Proposed Plan and the supporting documents for the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site (OU-1) can be found at either of the following repositories:

St. Francois County Health Center
1025 West Main Street
Park Hills, Missouri


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

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