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EPA Chat Pile Clean-up Changing Landscape of N. Schifferdecker a - KOAM TV 7

EPA Chat Pile Clean-up Changing Landscape of N. Schifferdecker at Snowball Mining site

Updated:
Then Then
Now Now
Joplin, MO -

The landscape of north Schifferdecker property is changing dramatically as the snowball mining site is cleared of chat piles.


More than  sixty-five acres of property  is being reclaimed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The land is actually owned by Mark McDonald who's father bought it since the 1960's. Chat piles there once resembled large white sand dunes which gave the area its nickname.
But like many former mining sites,  the old chat piles that were there were deemed dangerous and had to go.

 The operation is now underway and should be completed in about three months. Twenty  trucks each make twenty trips a day removing chat and contaminated soil  from the snowball  mining site.

Region 7 On Scene Coordinator Todd Campbell explained, "EPA's main  goal for all our cleanups is to protect human health and the environment.  And we have known for a long time that these former  mining areas contain  levels of heavy metals namely  lead cadmium and zinc. Those are the  three we're most  concerned  with."

The contracted truck drivers scrape  or brush off the backs of trucks and tires  before they exit the mining site.

Campbell explained,  "We're trying not to go from essentially a dirty area or a contaminated zone to a clean zone and then track that material  out and make the area of concern larger."
 
The chat and contaminated soil are driven and dumped  at a repository on Malang road.
Campbell said,  "It
s gonna get capped and covered and re-vegetated  and it will stay there forever."

 Campbell said state DNR officials will monitor the repository property and any areas where chat is left on the Snowball property and encapsulated there. The state will determine how it can and cannot be reused.

Campbell said,  "My favorite example is you don
t build a day care on top of a chat pile.  Thats over simplified but  those are the kinds  of things theyre looking for. Whatever the approved and acceptable use is, they continue to monitor in the future for that."

Snowball property owner Mark McDonald said he sold the chat which was sand like for  use in gravel for roads. He doesn
t have plans for the reclaimed land yet.  Earlier acres were sold and developed into what became a church and some businesses on Belle Center road.  
 
The Snowball mining site  is part of the Oronogo-Duenweg mining belt.
 Clean up work has been going on for ten years in Jasper County. And Campbell estimates it will continue at least five more years.
So far the EPA as cleaned up about forty-five hundred acres in the county and moved seventeen million tons of material.
     That
s just in Jasper county where  the cost of cleanup averages thirty-six thousand dollars per acre.
          The EPA  is also working in Newton county, Missouri and Cherokee county, Kansas to clean up mine waste.



 

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