From Green Right Now Reports
The Doe Run Resources Corporation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources’ (MDNR) Division of State Parks have agreed to conduct a removal action to address lead contamination at St. Joe State Park, including off-road vehicle (ORV) riding areas and a former lead milling location now preserved as a museum, as well as an adjacent section of the Shaw Branch floodplain in St. Francois County.
Terms of EPA’s agreement with Doe Run and MDNR are outlined in an administrative settlement agreement and order on consent, filed in Kansas City, Kan. Under the order, within 60 days Doe Run and MDNR must submit a draft work plan to EPA, outlining intended steps to complete the removal action.
The order focuses on a 1,240-acre portion of the 8,238-acre St. Joe State Park, Missouri’s third-largest state park, located near the city of Park Hills. The site is known to EPA as the Federal Tailings Pile Superfund Site, a sub-site of Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site, which is on the Agency’s National Priorities List (NPL) for cleanup of hazardous lead.
The park portion of the site is owned by the State of Missouri, which received it as part of an 8,238-acre gift from the St. Joe Minerals Corporation in 1976. St. Joe Minerals Corporation, which changed its name to Doe Run Resources Corporation in 1994, conducted lead mining and milling operations in the vicinity from approximately 1923 to 1972.
St. Joe State Park is used for a variety of recreational activities, including off-road vehicle riding, camping, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and fishing. However, soils at the site are extensively contaminated with toxic lead and lead compounds from mining wastes that accumulated over several decades. Soil samples collected during recent inspections of the site have been found to contain up to 20,000 parts per million of lead.
Additionally, lead has been found at elevated levels in sediment, surface water, and aquatic life adjacent to the site in the Shaw Branch of Flat River, a tributary of Big River. Actions to address lead contamination in the Shaw Branch floodplain included in EPA’s order:
- All ORV trails that are contaminated with 600 mg/kg or more of lead must be covered with a minimum of 12 inches of clean soil, rock, or a mixture of both.
- Steep slopes will be regraded and stabilized with rock to prevent erosion. Vegetation will be established or augmented to reduce exposure to the public and minimize erosion.
- Sediment and surface water will be addressed by removing creekside lead tailings deposits, constructing stormwater retention structures to help reduce the movement of sediment, regrading to stabilize steep slopes, and improving drainage channels that cross the site.
- Post-removal controls, including administrative controls to prevent public access to vegetated areas, and ongoing monitoring to ensure the remedy remains protective, must be implemented.