A new mine waste disposal site is causing some nearby residents of Jasper County to think twice before letting their kids play outside. One woman, who lives just outside of Joplin and Webb City off of Fountain Road, worries how this dangerous mine waste will pose a risk not only now, but to future generations.
Kerry Sundy says it seems there has been a lot of hush hush about what has been going on near her backyard.
"It's disturbing," says Sundy.
Ever since about a month and a half ago, Sundy has been hearing dump trucks going to and from the nearby private property. After asking enough people, including Environment Protection Agency officials, Sundy says she found out the EPA is disposing mine waste at this property from a clean-up site near Oronogo.
"We should have been informed, so we're educated. So we're not so suspicious. Because I just really feel suspicious now," says Sundy. "I mean, I called and asked, specifically, is it contaminated? He said of course. It has got lead, cadmium, zinc residue in it."
The owners of this property wouldn't let us record video on their land. Satellite images of the 17-acre property, though, show a hole, about 275 feet from Sundy's backyard, where her three kids play. The EPA has told Sundy that a sinkhole is being filled.
"We've had a lot of windy days. Young kids are at most risk for long-term effects from lead exposure and heavy metal exposure. So I just feel violated," says Sundy.
The EPA says they are doing everything humanly possible to prevent dangerous dust from the 50-thousand cubic yards of mine waste being put here.
"We have a water truck that comes by numerous times during the day to water the roads, keep the dust down. We don't allow any dust to leave the site," says Mark Doolan with the EPA.
The EPA says in about three weeks, the disposal site will be capped with soil and clay.
"It's completely encapsulated, so that people and animals aren't exposed to it anymore," says Doolan.
Sundy still worries that the mine waste will contaminate the ground for years to come.
"If it's a sinkhole they're filling back there, it's gotta be porous," says Sundy.
Sundy is keeping soil samples from her property and plans on testing the samples in about a year. The EPA is also using another disposal site near Joplin for this mine waste clean-up project.
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