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Superfund Program Implements the Recovery Act

Cherokee County/Badger, Lawton, Baxter Springs, and Treece Subsites

Cherokee County, KS

Site Description
The Cherokee County site, located in southeastern Kansas, includes mine waste contamination in several former mining areas.  The site is part of an area known as the Tri-State Mining District, which ranked as one of the world’s highest producers of lead and zinc.  The Mining District covers a 2,500 square-mile area in Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.  Four large mining areas located around and within the cities of Baxter Springs, Treece, Badger, and Lawton, KS, are among the areas affected by the overall 115-square-mile site.  Lead, zinc and cadmium are the main contaminants of concern in surface soil, sediment, surface water, and shallow ground water. The site affects a significant number of residents, including young children and downstream Native American tribes.

Cleanup Activities to Date
EPA listed the site on the National Priorities List in 1983.  To address the site, EPA has divided it  into seven subsites that correspond to seven general mining locations:  Galena, Baxter Springs, Treece, Badger, Lawton, Waco, and Crestline.  EPA has completed a 900-acre mine waste cleanup at the Galena subsite, which included remediating over 700 residential properties.  Because the waste had affected the quality of the shallow ground water—a primary drinking source for rural residents of the area—a rural water supply district was built in Galena and is now serving over 500 residential hook-ups.  Work at Baxter Springs to clean up the residential properties is complete, as is the residential cleanup at Treece.  Over 200 acres of non-residential mining wastes have also been remediated at the Baxter Springs and Crestline subsites.  EPA is currently remediating 140 acres of wastes at the Waco subsite.    

Recovery Act Project Activity
EPA will use the $14.5 million in Recovery Act funds allocated to this site to support cleanup activities at the Badger, Lawton, Baxter Springs, and Treece subsites. At the Badger and Lawton subsites, EPA will use the funds to support the initial base year of cleanup work consisting of excavation, consolidation, capping, and re-vegetation of approximately 120 acres or 700,000 cubic yards of mine waste. This activity will address all surface mine and mill wastes at these subsites. The funding will enable the project to be completed in a three-year timeframe. At the Baxter and Treece subsites, the Recovery Act resources will fund the ongoing excavation, consolidation, capping, and re-vegetation activities associated with approximately 380 acres or 2.1 million cubic yards of mine waste. EPA anticipates that the funding would support the completion of these activities, which are addressing the final area of surface mine and mill waste at the site. The funding will enable an expedited schedule on the projected 10-year cleanup.

FY2011 highlights include:

  • ($10.6 million - ongoing project) - Currently, work funded with Recovery Act monies is being finalized. Approximately 85 percent of the Recovery Act funds have been expended. During 4th quarter 2011, the contractor excavated, hauled, and capped approximately 98,386 cubic yards of lead-contaminated mine waste and made 133 acres of mining impacted lands available for reuse.
  • ($3.9 million- ongoing project) - To date, work funded with Recovery Act monies is almost completed. Approximately 97 percent of the Recovery Act funds have been expended. The contractor excavated approximately 114.4 thousand cubic yards of lead-contaminated mine waste and made about 100 acres of mining impacted lands available for reuse.

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