EPA GIVES $50,000 grant for Tar Creek group

Friday, May 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) _ The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given a $50,000 grant to a citizen's group to hire a technical adviser to review cleanup efforts at the Tar Creek Superfund site.

Gregg Cook, Region 6 administrator for the EPA, said Thursday the money will pay for a technical adviser for a Vinita citizens group known as L.E.A.D. Agency Inc.

``It basically helps empower the community to understand what is occurring in their community,'' Cook said.

Tar Creek is a former zinc mining area in northeastern Oklahoma that was placed on the original Superfund list almost 20 years ago.

Children living in Ottawa County have reported some of the highest concentrations of blood lead levels in the country.

When lead and zinc mining ended, chat, or mine waste with dangerous levels of lead, zinc and cadmium were left behind.

The EPA and other agencies have spent millions to clean up yards.

EPA officials are moving ahead on cleanup of a number of Indian-owned properties, Cook said, and will begin remediation on another 500 non-Indian properties when the state provides a 10 percent match.

The agency also continues to examine chat removal, he said.