UNDATED -- The City of Blackwell filed a lawsuit Thursday against mining company Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc. accusing the company of failure to clean up lead, cadmium, arsenic, and zinc contamination. According to the lawsuit, the contamination left behind by the Blackwell Zinc Smelter, which operated in the town from 1916 until 1974. The Blackwell Zinc Smelter was operated by a company now owned by Freeport-McMoRan.
The City alleges that the community's groundwater has been polluted by toxic levels of cadmium and zinc .
"The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) has determined it is not feasible to treat the contaminated groundwater, which will remain a source of pollution ‘for generations,'" according to a release by Eric Wetzel of Shipley Associates.
The law suit also alleges that smelter owners "openly provided contaminated slag and other toxic materials to the City and its residents for use in construction projects, rather than properly treating and/or disposing of these materials."