Cleanup continues at Oklahoma’s Tar Creek Superfund site


Oklahoma’s Tar Creek Superfund site in the northeast part of the state remains the target of cleanup efforts.

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality slated a virtual public meeting this week to discuss the residential yard and high access area cleanups at the site.s

The public was informed about an upcoming remediation as part of the Tar Creek Operable Unit (OU) 2 Residential Cleanup Program. Representatives indicated that there will also be future sample efforts in the area.


The Tar Creek Superfund Site is part of the Tri-State Mining District, which includes northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas, and southwestern Missouri, where lead and zinc were mined from about 1900 to the 1970s.

When the mining eventually stopped, huge volumes of waste, including chat, were left on the ground. Due to the widespread practice of using chat as general fill material, lead contamination is common throughout Ottawa County and has contributed to human health and environmental concerns in the area.

Due to the overwhelming size and complexity of the site, it is divided into multiple operable units. The cleanup of residential properties and high access areas are the basis of OU 2. Cleanup is accomplished by removing and replacing lead contaminated soil and chat from residential properties.

The next round of residential yard cleanups is planned for the spring and summer of 2021.

Source: DEQ press release

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