A polluted site in Okmulgee County is one step closer to becoming a Superfund National Priority for the Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA said the metal salvage yard, which is right in the heart of town, is contaminated with chemicals and radiation, and is a risk to residents.
“You see it coming in and out of town,” said City Councilor Janna Duggan. “It’s always been an eyesore for us.”
The Henryetta Iron and Metal site is a lot more than just a junkyard in the middle of Main Street. It’s full of contaminants and dangerous pollutants.
“We want to get that cleaned up for our citizens, for our children,” she said.
Duggan said their mayor reached out to the EPA to help them clean up the metal yard, which has been there since the 1930s.
The EPA came out last year and cleaned some of it after finding several chemicals in the soil, groundwater and a nearby creek.
It also found eight 55 gallon drums full of radioactive material.
On Wednesday, the EPA announced the site is one of five locations proposed to go on the Superfund National Priorities List.
“We’re a small town. We want to take care of our health,” Duggan said. “It’s a really big deal.”
Duggan said it’s close to homes, businesses and schools.
Aside from being dangerous, its also bad for the town’s economy.
“Not having a contaminated site as a gateway into your community would be extremely beneficial,” said Roy Madden.
Roy Madden, the Executive Director with the Chamber of Commerce said cleaning up the site, which is currently privately owned, would mean more business and a more inviting town entrance.
“As we clean our community up, it's much more appealing and that’s a major step to positive economic development,” Madden said.
The site has to meet EPA requirements before it can officially be on the national priority list and get funding for the cleanup.