Heavy-metal contaminants left by an Oklahoma zinc smelter that closed more than eight decades ago will be cleaned up through a $6.6 million plan chosen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The former Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing site near Collinsville, just north of Tulsa, started operations in 1914 but closed 11 years later when demand for zinc dropped off after the end of World War I. About 200,000 cubic yards of smelter waste – including byproducts commonly known as “slag” – still remain on the property.
“I’m very happy to see anything going on,” said Tulsa’s Bob Beauchamp, the principal landowner at the site. “We’ve all come to the conclusion that that’s the best way to do it.”
The state Department of Environmental Quality said entertainment giant Viacom International is expected to fund the cleanup. Viacom’s predecessor corporations operated zinc-smelter facilities.
The cleanup process, which is expected to last several years, includes on-site consolidation and capping of the waste and institutional controls that will help ensure the site is used appropriately in the future.
The EPA placed the site, which is west of old U.S. Highway 169 and about 11/4 miles south of Collinsville, on its National Priorities List in 1994 after a DEQ site inspection identified arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc as primary contaminants.
The EPA sent a letter to the city this month outlining the cleanup plan, which is based on a proposal presented to the public at a meeting in Collinsville in July.
The next phase in the site cleanup is “Remedial Design,” which develops technical specifications and drawings that provide the blueprint for construction of the remedy. A “Remedial Action” follows that phase and involves the actual construction and implementation phase of the site cleanup.
Information from: Tulsa World, www.tulsaworld.com