EPA Comments on Report That Supports Present and Future Activities at the Federal Mine Tailings Superfund Site in St. Francois County, Missouri
EPA has reviewed and commented on a draft engineering report on the Federal Mine Tailings Superfund Site in St. Francois County, Mo. The study was authored by the Doe Run Corp. and Missouri, both potentially responsible parties at the site. EPA has determined that the report lacks sufficient detail for the Agency to evaluate how exposures to mine waste would be prevented and human health would be protected.
EPA’s comments focus on transitioning off-road vehicles and recreational activities away from the mine waste piles in St. Joe State Park. The continued use of the park for off-road vehicle riding and recreation in the mine tailings is inconsistent with EPA’s approach to reducing lead exposure in St. Francois County. Response actions have been necessary at similar mine waste piles in St. Francois County because the off-site migration of lead-contaminated tailings posed a health threat to nearby residents. The contamination can also be tracked into homes, resulting in an increased risk of exposure. Missouri has consistently concurred on these response actions, which were necessary to minimize exposure to mine waste and protect human health.
The park is 8,200 acres, of which approximately 1,000 acres are mine waste. EPA’s goal for the St. Francois County Mining Area includes reducing overall lead exposures by stabilizing waste piles, replacing contaminated soils, providing health education, and restricting unsafe uses of mine waste. EPA believes that additional alternatives, which incorporate future use options envisioned for the park or alternative means of conducting current recreational activities at the park, should be evaluated fully prior to additional review or acceptance of the current report recommendations.
EPA would like to work collaboratively with the state and other interested parties to develop alternatives which are consistent with other comparable response actions in St. Francois County and that are protective of human health and the environment.
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