Environmental Protection

EPA Funding Soil Remediation in Joplin

The $2.4 million from the Superfund program will help with sampling and remediating lead- and cadmium-contaminated soils disturbed by the May 2011 tornado or by cleanup afterward.

EPA's Region 7 will provide an additional $2.4 million to the city of Joplin, Mo., to help officials sample and remediate lead- and cadmium-contaminated soils that were disturbed during the May 22, 2011, tornado that hit the city or by the cleanup work afterward, which included structural demolition and tree removal.

EPA and city officials said the money should allow Joplin to replace soils and restore yards at an estimated 240 homes, parks, playgrounds, and other properties during the next three years. Both this $2.4 million and an earlier $500,000 came from the Superfund program.

"EPA is pleased to continue as a key partner in rebuilding Joplin," EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks said. "This new funding will speed the redevelopment of Joplin’s neighborhoods, bringing life back to properties where families and children will once again be able to live and play in safe environments."

The tornado killed 161 people and injured more than 1,000 others. It damaged or destroyed nearly 8,000 structures, including homes that had been built on historic mine waste areas or had used mine waste as fill material.

EPA has been cleaning up mine and smelter wastes in the Joplin area since the mid-1990s and had cleaned up more than 2,600 residential yards of material contaminated by lead and cadmium at the time of the tornado. Tests indicate an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 areas still may require soil remediation.

"The City of Joplin and the Jasper County Health Department have gotten a strong head start on this task of sampling and remediation," Brooks said. "This new funding from EPA's Superfund program -– which we hope to supplement with additional funding in the future -– will keep work moving toward Joplin's full recovery."

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