general nav links
Federal, State, & Tribal Programs
Training & Education
| skip specific nav links
Home Working with Section 106 ACHP Case Digest Winter 2005 Oklahoma: Clean Up of Tar Creek Mining Pollution, Ottawa County
Oklahoma: Clean Up of Tar Creek Mining Pollution, Ottawa County
Agency: (Currently no lead agency)
Many Federal agenciesincluding the Environmental Protection Agency, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Geological Surveyand State agencies with Federal assistance, have proposed or are undertaking separate but coordinated environmental clean-up projects to remediate hazardous conditions in Oklahomas Ottawa County.
The 40-square-mile site known as Tar Creek was the worlds largest producer and processor of zinc and lead ore from the early 1900s until the 1970s. It was part of the Tri-State Mining project that extends into neighboring Missouri and Kansas, and includes the towns of Picher, Cardin, North Miami, Quapaw, and Commerce. In addition, much of the central mining area is Quapaw tribal land.
Tar Creek contains a number of historic mining properties, including abandoned mines, historic structures, and possible archeological resources.
Unfortunately, the area is the most polluted in the United States, according to EPA. The land is marred by limestone-laden residues known as chat (with a coarse consistency), and tailings (with a sandy consistency). The site also has polluted ponds, lead-polluted groundwater sources, and abandoned mines.
The ACHP became involved in the issue in October 2004, when the deputy Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Officer expressed her frustration with the Federal agencies difficulty complying with Section 106 for their various clean-up projects.
This situation led to the idea of developing a single Programmatic Agreement (PA) for the agencies various Tar Creek projects. Such a PA will be designed to improve the agencies ability to address their projects effects on the sites historic properties, per Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
In January 2005, the Quapaw Tribe hosted an interagency meeting to discuss the agencies Tar Creek projects, tour the project area and its historic resources, and begin discussing the development of a PA that will outline mitigation measures for the historic properties.
The ACHP hopes that the PA will serve as a streamlining model that will coordinate the Section 106 review process for multiple agencies and projects in a single area.
Staff contact: Marge
Return to Top