The Environmental Protection Agency and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality say they have plans to clean up an old refinery site in Bristow.
The public had the chance to hear from both agencies on Tuesday.
The EPA discussed several ways they could begin cleaning up the superfund site, which sits on about 140 acres of land.
Tank sludge, lead, and other contaminants are seeping into the ground in Bristow on the former site of the Lorraine and Wilcox oil refineries.
“What we’re proposing is to clean up nine areas where there’s waste material left behind from the refinery,” said Amy Brittain, DEQ’s Environment Programs Manager.
This cleanup is considered limited action, so the entire site would not be cleaned up during this first process. The EPA is testing and has already cleaned up some oil waste.
“This is our first step towards cleaning up the site, so any cleanup will leave the property better than it was,” said Brittain, “but we’re kind of with them, we want to see the full property cleaned up.”
The EPA would like to start the process next year, but right now there’s no definite starting date as the agencies consider ways to clean up.
The first is taking no action. The second way involves excavation, treatment, and disposal of the materials offsite. The third involves excavation, treatment, and then capping the material, which would remain on site forever.
“We’re looking at areas where people live and then some small, really contaminated area within the oil process area,” explained Brittain.
The total cost for the latter two plans would be a little more than $4 million.
Residents say they’re hopeful but still unsure about the future.
“I think they left a lot of questions unanswered and so time will tell,” said area resident Jeff Sargent.
In the meantime, they hope their concerns are addressed and the cleanup starts soon.
Both the EPA and the DEQ are accepting public comment. You can find information on how to share your comment with the agencies here.