DEQ Begins Cleanup Of Superfund Site

Wednesday, October 10th 2007, 8:29 pm
By: News On 6

The owner of some land in Collinsville says he has had it with trespassers, especially since his land is contaminated. It is the last superfund site in Tulsa County and it still has not been cleaned up. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports after years of waiting, cleanup may be near, but it cannot come soon enough for the landowner.

The land in Collinsville has been in Bob Beauchamp’s family for decades. As a child in the 1950's, he would run all over the property, which belonged to his aunt. Since then vandals burned the home, and the 50 or so acres it sits on has been classified as contaminated.

"It's really hard to describe because we weren't aware that there was any contaminants here when we were playing in this stuff all of our lives," said landowner Bob Beauchamp.

The problem lies just past the barns on the property, it is the ruins of Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing. The facility was imploded in 1925, but before that it was a zinc smelter where they distilled zinc for use in World War I. But even in ruins, the smelter still contains large amounts of waste.

According to Beauchamp, most of the contamination is on the surface in a dark mixture of metals, which is known as slag. In the slag, the Department of Environmental Quality says they have found arsenic, cadmium, lead and zinc. That kind of waste can have serious health affects on humans. That is why a fence went up and the site was added to the National Priorities List in 1998. That is also why Beauchamp wants trespassers to stay away.

"They come here because it’s a place to play. They come in on four-wheelers. They come in on horseback,” Beauchamp said.

So why, after almost 10 years as a superfund site, has the land not been cleaned up? The Oklahoma DEQ project manager says first of all, it is a long, complicated process. Secondly, the site has not been on the top of the nationwide list of hazardous sites to be cleaned up. But the DEQ is working on the site now, they say it will not be long before Beauchamp will know what will become of the land he loves.

The DEQ is holding a public meeting about the Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing Superfund Site Thursday evening. It will be at Collinsville City Hall, located at 106 N. 12th Street, from 6 to 7 pm.

Watch the video: Superfund Site Cleanup