Members of the Treece Relocation Trust are hoping to begin some appraisals by next month and maybe get some of the residents relocated this year.

Residents met Tuesday with officials from the Kansas Department of Health and Environmental Protection Agency, which are funding a $3 million buyout similar to one a few years ago in Picher.

Officials made it clear, however, that residents could move anywhere they choose - except for another area poisoned by mining. Just across the state line from Picher, Treece was part of one of the largest lead and zinc mining areas in the world.

For the past several years, Picher has been the focus of a federal buyout due to contaminents in the air and ground, causing health issues. More recently, a subsidence report indicated much of the area was at risk for cave-in.

As residents of Picher were bought out, some moved to neighboring Treece, Kan., and will be part of a second buyout in the area.

Officials say they want to avoid this happening again.

“We do not want somebody to move from one bad place to another,” said Gary Blackburn, director of the KDHE’s Bureau of Remediation.

Officials also hope to avoid some of the issues that residents and trust members faced with the recent buyout of Picher.

Each house will be appraised by three companies, according to Bob Jurgens, section chief in the assessment and restoration section at the KDHE. He said it hasn’t been established yet, but that he thinks the appraisals probably will be averaged. The members of the trust will review the appraisals before making an offer.