PICHER - Residents within the Tar Creek Superfund site have an opportunity to attend back-to-back meetings today, both of which focus on issues within the nation's ranking environmental disaster.
At 4 p.m., the Lead Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust - a state-appointed panel - will meet in the council chambers of Picher City Hall at 101 N. Connell Ave.
At 6 p.m., federal workers will host a public meeting at Picher-Cardin High School where residents can weigh in on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed plan for Operable Unit 4.
The proposed plan, titled “Tar Creek Operable Unit 4 (OU4) - Chat Piles, Other Mine and Mill Waste, and Smelter Waste, addresses source materials, smelter waste, rural residential yard contamination, transition zone soil contamination and contamination in water drawn from rural residential wells. Source materials refers to mine and mill waste including chat, fines, overburden, development rock and other tailings. The plan also allows for the continued sale of chat under guidelines established by a new EPA chat rule finalized this month.
In a statement released last month, the EPA indicated that it incorporated input from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma and ten downstream tribes into the plan.
However, according to a letter dated June 11, ODEQ has not yet endorsed OU4.
“Our review showed that many of our latest comments that you agreed to incorporate were not incorporated into this version of the proposed plan, wrote Kelly Dixon, environmental programs manager for ODEQ. “The Department of Environmental Quality cannot give you a concurrence letter at this time and does not support selection of Option 4 as the Preferred Remedy. DEQ was not given sufficient time to review the revised Feasibility Study and will provide comments in a separate letter.
Dixon cited the following as specific concerns identified within the plan:
“Cost appears to be the sole factor in the preferred alternative selection.
“Cost evaluation for alternative 4 and 5 is vague and appears misrepresented.
“Permanent relocation is not in the preferred alternative.
“Chat sales are not a component of the remedy.
“Potential adverse surface water impacts are not addressed.
The public is encouraged to comment on the alternatives presented in the proposed plan or suggest other alternatives. Individuals can email comments to EPA community involvement coordinator Janetta Coats at firstname.lastname@example.org. EPA will select a final remedy after considering all information submitted during the comment period and may modify the plan based on new information or public comments.
The 4 p.m.
Trust members will discuss a letter of their own to present to the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the proposed Operable Unit 4.
The panel will revisit discussion initiated last month by vice-chairman Mark Osborn who said that he would like to see th EPA make incorporate “buyout into its options for a remedy at Tar Creek and make it a priority.
The trust will also take up several additional matters including the trust's budget.
Also on the agenda is the approval of offers on several properties.