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EPA nears completion of efforts at schools in St. Francis county.

Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 announced it was nearing completion of its efforts to remove lead-contaminated soils at three schools in St. Francois County, Missouri, and the replace the material with clean soil.

Region 7 spokesman Christopher Whitley said agency risk assessors are studying the results of soil sampling from 11 public parks in the county to determine next steps for addressing lead contamination at those locations.

Removal work has included the Jefferson Elementary School, W.L. Johns Early Childhood, and Truman Kindergarten facilities in Farmington.

Those three facilities are attended by children whose ages put them at greatest risk of health effects from toxic lead exposure, and are among several schools in the county where recent sampling found elevated levels of lead in soils, Whitley reported.

The actions are the latest phases of Region 7's cleanup activity at the Big River Mine Tailings/St. Joe Minerals Corp. Superfund site.

The 110-square-mile site is composed of six large areas of mine waste, as well as surrounding residential and recreational areas.

Lead mining and milling has occurred in the area for more than a century. Over the next two years, EPA will address a crucial phase of the cleanup activity involving the removal of lead-contaminated

Those schools affected include Bismarck Elementary School and Bismarck High School in Bismarck; North County Senior High/Unitec and St. Joseph School in Bonne Terre; North County Middle School and North County Intermediate School in Desloge; St. Joseph Elementary School, St. Paul Lutheran School, Farmington Middle School and Farmington Senior High School in Farmington, and Central High School in Park Hills.

EPA is giving the highest priority for removal actions to schools and facilities attended by the youngest children, and where the potential exposure to lead is greatest. Meanwhile, EPA risk assessors are reviewing the results of recent tests showing elevated levels of lead in soils at 10 of 11 public parks surveyed in St. Francois County. Those 10 parks tested for lead at levels above 400 parts per million (ppm), EPA's residential yard screening level. Parks with elevated lead levels include Bicentennial Park, Bonne Terre City Park, Diamond Drill Park and Lakeview Park, all in Bonne Terre; Desloge City Park in Desloge; and Columbia Park, The Elvin's Park, Lewis Street Lions Park, Park Hills Veteran's Park and Seventh Street Park, all in Park Hills. Of the 11 parks EPA sampled, only Miner's Park in Bonne Terre tested below 400 ppm for lead in soil.

Contact: Christopher Whitley, (913) 551-7394.

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Publication:Hazardous Waste Superfund Alert
Date:Jun 6, 2011
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