Stage of Clean-up: Emergency Removal of Contaminants / Remedial Assessment Not Begun
Conditions at Proposal (April 30, 2003): The Newton County Mine Tailings site is located in southwest Missouri in the Tri-State Mining District. The site is being proposed to the NPL because of the presence of lead and cadmium contamination in residential drinking water wells significantly above the current health based drinking water limits. Based on current sampling information, the contaminated ground water encompasses approximately 160 square miles. In 1999, EPA provided bottled water to county residents as an immediate, temporary response to the known health threat associated with the consumption of lead and cadmium contaminated water. Currently, 350 residential properties in Newton County receive bottled water from EPA and have no alternative safe drinking water supply.
From approximately 1850 to 1950, lead, cadmium, and zinc mining were major industries in Newton County and the land is marked by numerous open mine shafts, tailings piles, and underground mine workings. In addition, the extensive mining activity has resulted in unique underground channels and faults with exposed lead, cadmium, and zinc ores. The mines were located below the water table and during periods of operations were kept dry by pumping ground water from the shafts. Following abandonment of the mines, pumping ceased, the water table returned to its natural levels, and the ground water came in contact with abandoned underground mines and exposed ore. More...