Missouri gets the lead out - from soil around its highways

| 8/18/2005

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is reporting significant soil lead contamination along highways in the southeastern part of the state.

The lead is reportedly coming from trucks that travel the highways hauling lead ore from mines in the area. It has also been found on about 50 residential properties.

The DNR issued a permit Wednesday, Aug. 17, to use an inactive mill and mine from the Doe Run Co. as an emergency hazardous waste management facility as part of the cleanup process.

The DNR said in a news release that soil collected from the roads will be stored at the mine. Meanwhile the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working with Doe Run to clean up the contaminated soil.

Doe Run already had a plan to treat and dispose of the soil, but the EPA said approval of that plan could take several months and it is requiring a more immediate action. Doe Run is using the mine to store the contaminated soil until its cleanup plan is approved.

The Associated Press reported that the contamination is the result of travel on the roads – located about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis – by trucks from five different mining companies.