Environmental Sampling Scheduled to Begin St. Joe Minerals-Viburnum Site Viburnum, Missouri
On September 30, 2005, EPA Region 7 reached an agreement with the Doe Run Resources Corporation (Doe Run) to conduct an environmental assessment and inspection at the St. Joe Minerals-Viburnum Site located in Viburnum and the surrounding area.
Over the years, Doe Run, or its predecessor, St. Joe Minerals Corporation, has operated four lead mines located in Iron, Crawford and Washington Counties. Two of these mines are now closed and two are still operational. Ore from these mines has been transported from the mines to mills for processing. Lead concentrate has been hauled by truck or rail to one of the smelters in the region. During transportation, some ore and concentrate may have fallen onto the road and adjacent yards. Lead concentrate commonly contains lead concentrations greater than 70 percent (700,000 parts per million). Ore has much lower concentrations of lead, usually 3 to 5 percent.
EPA has information that mine waste has been used as construction material for fill, as an aggregate for driveways or patios, or as a lime source for yard soils. These various uses of mine waste may present a threat of lead contamination. The agreement requires soil sampling of selected properties to determine if hazardous levels of lead are present at residences located in the site area.
On January 18, 2006, EPA Region 7 approved the work plan submitted by Doe Run for the site. The work plan requires Doe Run to collect soil samples from residences and child high-use areas such as child care centers and playgrounds located within the site. Sampling activities are projected to begin in late February. The soil samples will be analyzed to detect levels of lead contamination related to Doe Run’s mining, milling and/or hauling activities in the Viburnum area.
The site is defined to include residences and child high-use properties located within Viburnum; within 200 feet of selected haul roads from the city to Viburnum No. 27, No. 29 and Casteel mines; within 1,000 feet of the head frames of Viburnum No. 27, No. 29 and Casteel mines; and within 1,000 feet from the edge of all Doe Run and St. Joe Minerals-Viburnum mine waste disposal areas (tailing piles). Sampling priority will be given to residences where a child has been identified with an elevated blood lead level.
Children are more sensitive to lead than adults and can develop lifelong learning disabilities or behavioral problems because of lead exposure. In addition, pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid exposure to lead to protect their children. Health effects in children include:
- Slowed physical growth.
- Hearing problems.
- Nervous system damage.
- Learning difficulties.
- Behavior problems including hyperactivity (easily excitable, unable to concentrate, short attention span).
- Decreased intelligence (I.Q.) scores.
Lead exposure and its effects can be reduced by:
- Washing hands after playing outside and before meals.
- Vacuuming often and dusting with a damp cloth to help remove dust that might have lead in it.
- Eating a diet high in calcium and iron and low in fat.
BLOOD LEAD TESTING
The only way to know if your child has elevated blood lead levels is to have his or her blood tested. EPA encourages parents to have their children tested for lead exposure. The Iron County Health Department provides free blood lead tests and is located at:
Iron County Health Department
606 W. Russell
Ironton, MO 63650
Toll Free #: 888-476-7121
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can also contact your private physician for a blood test.
If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:
Community Involvement Coordinator
EPA Region 7
901 North 5th Street
Kansas City, Kansas 66101
913-551-7003, Toll-free 1-800-223-0425
E-mail: Dianna Whitaker (email@example.com)
On Scene Coordinator
EPA Region 7
97 N. Outer Road
Eureka, Missouri 63025
E-mail: Jeffrey Weatherford (firstname.lastname@example.org)