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EPA issues new rule on chat


A new rule that establishes guidelines for the environmentally protective use of chat in federally funded transportation projects has been finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Chat is a fine, gravel waste created from lead and zinc mining activities and often contains lead, cadmium, zinc and other metal contaminants. The rule establishes criteria for chat that is from the Tri-State Mining District of Ottawa County, Oklahoma; Cherokee County, Kansas; and Jasper, Newton, Lawrence and Barry counties in Missouri.

“This new rule marks another important step forward in addressing the Tar Creek Superfund site,” said EPA Regional Administrator Richard E. Greene. “Working with our partners, EPA will continue to help develop solutions to address this region’s environmental challenges.”

Mining and milling of ore in the Tri-State area produced more than 500 million tons of wastes. More than 75 percent of this waste has been removed, with some portion of it used over the years. Today, approximately 100 million tons of chat remain in the Tri-State area.

The new rule establishes acceptable uses of chat in transportation construction projects where chat is used as an aggregate in asphalt and cement road surfaces. EPA is also recommending criteria as guidance for the beneficial use of chat in non-transportation, non-residential concrete and cement projects, such as commercial foundations, sidewalk areas, and parking areas. Applications that encapsulate chat as a material for manufacturing a safe product, like glass, or as part of an industrial process, such as glass recycling, are also acceptable under the new rule.

Additional information on the new rule titled “Criteria for the Safe and Environmentally Protective Use of Granular Mine Tailings Known as Chat” is available at

To learn more about activities in EPA Region 6, please visit


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