Former Oklahoma 'Superfund' Site Now Home To Honey Bees
COLLINSVILLE, Oklahoma - What was a federal "superfund" site near Collinsville is now covered with clover - and bees.
The former Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing site was fenced off and closed off for years, considered too contaminated for any real use, but now with the land restored, two bee companies have moved in their hives.
The site is covered with rye grass and clover, about a foot high now, covering what was a rocky, almost bare, landscape of a zinc smelter that closed in 1925.
"It was unusable, basically," said landowner Bob Beachamp.
The site was covered with contaminated ore, old buildings, and polluted water.
The EPA started a clean-up three years ago, and now all of the contamination is consolidated into a grass-covered mound. Beachamp says
"There are no contaminants on the ground. It’s all in the consolidation cell; it can't go anywhere, and as far as I'm concerned, it's harmless," Beachamp said.
The next step of restoration starts with honey bees, and about a dozen colonies are just getting established.
"We think it's almost perfect," said Jay Ide, the owner of Gary Avenue Gold.
His company and Shadow Mountain Honey are working together to stock the property with bees. The clover the EPA used to protect the land is the ideal food for bees and the perfect ingredient for honey.
"There's acres and acres and acres of this stuff here," Ide said.
Beachamp said, "Compared to the way this place used to look, this is just gorgeous."