EPA Proposes Criteria for Using Chat from Tar Creek (Okla.), Other Areas

On March 24, EPA announced it is proposing criteria for the "beneficial" use of chat from the Tri-state mining district in transportation construction projects and in non-transportation, non-residential concrete and cement projects.

The proposed criteria involve encapsulating chat particles in asphalt or cement and concrete. Beneficially using chat according to the proposed criteria will both reduce chat piles and improve human health and the environment in the Tri-state area, officials said.

Chat is a gravel-like waste created from lead and zinc mining activities in the Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri Tri-state district between the late 1800s and mid 1900s. Currently about 100 million tons of chat contaminated with lead, zinc and cadmium are located in the Tri-state mining district.

The district covers approximately 2,500 square miles and includes parts of Ottawa County, Okla.; Cherokee County, Kan.; and Jasper and Newton Counties, Mo. The area includes four Superfund National Priority List sites: Cherokee County, Tar Creek (Ottawa County), Newton County Mine and the Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt.

More information is available on EPA's Web site at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/other/mining/chat.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.