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Fact Sheet

April 2009

EPA Proposes Site to National Priorities List, Southwest Jefferson County Mining Site, Jefferson County, Missouri


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the Southwest Jefferson County Mining Site to the National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is a published list of hazardous waste sites in the country that are eligible for extensive, long-term cleanup action under the Superfund program. EPA is asking for comments on the proposal.


Jefferson County is part of Missouri's Old Lead Belt, where lead mining has occurred for several hundred years. The primary environmental concern at this site is lead contamination in residential soils and private water wells.

Public Comments

EPA is requesting comments until June 9, 2009 on the proposal to add this site to the NPL. Comments submitted for the site should reference docket number EPA-HQ-SFUND-2009-0074 and   may be submitted by one of the following methods:

E-mail: superfund.Docket@epa.gov

Mail:  Mail comments (no facsimiles or tapes) to:

Docket Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
CERCLA Docket Office
Mail Code 5305T
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20460


EPA is conducting investigations and cleanup work at the site under the Superfund program. Congress established Superfund in 1980 in response to growing concerns over human health and environmental risks posed by hazardous sites. After a Superfund site is discovered, cleanup can fall under two programs:  removal and remedial. Removal actions address immediate threats to human health and the environment posed by contamination. Remedial actions address sites that require extensive and potentially long-term cleanup. Under the Superfund program, a site may qualify for placement on the NPL. The NPL is intended primarily to guide EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation and cleanup. For a site to be included on the NPL, it has to score sufficiently on the Hazard Ranking System (HRS). The HRS evaluates exposure pathways and the potential risk to human health and the environment. Those sites that score high enough on the HRS are eligible for the NPL. A site that is listed on the NPL qualifies to be financed by Superfund's Trust Fund. If a responsible party is not identified, a site cannot undergo a remedial cleanup unless it is listed on the NPL.

The Southwest Jefferson County Mining Site is being proposed to the NPL due to the potential risks associated with the levels of lead detected in soils, ground and surface water at the site. The state of Missouri supports this proposal.


Under the removal program, EPA has collected samples from 1,118 properties located in Jefferson County. To date, 230 properties have been identified with lead-contaminated soil above 1,200 parts per million (ppm). At this level, EPA prioritizes properties for cleanup as time-critical removals. EPA has also identified 159 properties with lead-contaminated soil in the range of 400 ppm to 1,199 ppm. These properties will be addressed after the time-critical removals are completed. EPA has collected water samples from 517 private water wells in this site. To date, EPA has offered bottled water to 41 residents whose wells have been identified with lead or cadmium above levels of concern.


EPA will continue to sample properties and conduct time-critical removals as highly contaminated properties are identified. A remedial investigation and feasibility study will be performed to fully define the nature and extent of contamination, followed by an evaluation of alternatives to clean up the contamination. EPA will ultimately present this information to the community and ask for comments on EPA's proposed actions before making decisions about site cleanup.


EPA wants to help affected communities understand the technical information related to a site. EPA's Technical Assistance Grant Program provides up to $50,000 for a qualified citizens group to hire independent technical advisors. The advisors can help citizens interpret technical data, understand site hazards, and become more knowledgeable about the different technologies used to clean up sites.


If you have questions about this proposal or want additional information about applying for a Technical Assistance Grant, please contact:

Dianna Whitaker
U.S. EPA Region 7
901 North 5th Street
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: 913-551-7598 or Toll Free: 1-800-223-0425

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