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Second Cleanup Effort Launched For Old Smelting Site

Updated:
BLACKWELL, Okla. (AP) -- A second cleanup effort is being undertaken in an area where cadmium and zinc pollution has been found.

The contaminants come from a zinc smelter that closed more than 30 years ago.

The smelters owner conducted a state-mandated cleanup at the polluted site when the pollution started showing up in the city's wastewater system in the early 1990s.

Mining company Phelps-Dodge, which acquired the site in a 1999 buyout of the former owner, will now work to determine whether unsafe levels of the metals remain at residents' homes.

Property owners will have 90 days to sign up to have their soil tested for contamination, said Paul Muegge, a community outreach liaison for the company.

A group of about 150 Blackwell residents met with environmental and health officials Tuesday night to discuss the issue.

"With something like this there are a lot of unknowns," Muegge said. "People have to be reassured that what is being done is being done right."

The company plans to remove any soil found to have unacceptable levels of contaminants.
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