The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that it plans to add the Washington County Lead District-Furnace Creek site in eastern Missouri to the federal Superfund National Priorities List.

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The Furnace Creek site is located in a heavily mined region and primarily includes residential properties within and around the towns of Belgrade, Caledonia, Hopewell and Irondale, Mo.

Mining activities in Washington County have contributed to elevated levels of lead in soil and groundwater in this area.

An NPL listing notifies the public that EPA believes a site requires further study and possible cleanup under EPA’s Superfund program.

EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks says, “Adding this site to the National Priorities List would make additional federal resources available to help protect Missouri residents from high concentrations of lead in soil and drinking water.”

Governor Jay Nixon supports EPA’s decision to propose the Furnace Creek site for the NPL. An NPL listing enables both EPA and Missouri to leverage resources for the benefit of citizens living in the affected area.

Inclusion of the Furnace Creek Site on the NPL would guarantee the public an opportunity to participate in cleanup decisions. Affected communities would also become eligible for technical assistance grants from EPA to help understand technical documents and promote community involvement.

The public comment period for the proposal ends December 19.