Tar Creek cleanup may cost billions

Tuesday, September 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Miami, Oklahoma-AP) -- Members of the Tar Creek task force were told today that it could cost 20 (b) billion dollars to clean up contaminated mining waste in Ottawa County.

According to subcommittee reports, at least 540 (m) million dollars of that will be needed to continue health projects, plug sink holes, close mine shafts, remove chat piles, improve water quality, control drainage and flooding, and repair damage to natural resources.

Chat is a gravel-like mineral discarded in the mining of lead and zinc. There are mountains of it throughout the county, particularly in the Picher-Cardin areas.

Tests on children living in the area have found high levels of lead in their blood.

Meanwhile, residents in the Picher-Cardin area are mulling the idea of relocating as part of a federal government buyout.

John Sparkman is director of the Picher Housing Authority and school board president for the combined Picher-Cardin school system.

Sparkman says the relocation-buyout option is gaining support.