Investigation of Lead Contamination From Mine Wastes

Investigation of Lead Contamination From Mine Wastes

Project Highlights:
  • Reviewed historic mine documents and aerial photographs
  • Developed and implemented a sampling program to evaluate lead distribution throughout a large region
  • Conducted survey of lead-impacted soil using XRF guns to provide regional lead maps
  • Collected samples for analytical testing
  • Reviewed remedial action implemented at several homes in the region
  • Developed a comprehensive GIS and data management project
  • Prepared material and participated in community meetings with the community and EPA

EEC Environmental (EEC) was retained to investigate the magnitude and distribution of lead mine waste dispersed throughout a large portion of Southeast Missouri Lead Belt (Lead Belt), including several small communities. Large volumes of mine waste “chat” was deposited throughout these communities and used as fill material. Exposure to this chat had resulted in children in the neighborhood to undergo chelation treatment to remove high levels of lead in the bloodstream.

EEC developed an investigation program that included evaluation of residential neighborhoods, schools, parks, etc. using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) guns to quickly evaluate the distribution of lead at many locations throughout the community. Using the XRF data, EEC collected soil samples for laboratory analysis at select locations. This data was used by the attorneys for developing legal action strategy.

Lead concentrations in soil throughout the region was well above regulatory guidance, including a large percentage of concentrations exceeding 1,000 parts per million (ppm) and some reaching concentrations above 7,000 ppm.

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