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Missouri Superfund Sites


The previous two posts have concerned abandoned mine lands in Missouri, which are inventoried and reclaimed by the Land Reclamation Program of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, working with the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior. These lands constitute the largest inventory of contaminated lands in Missouri. The most seriously contaminated, however, are Missouri’s Superfund sites.

In 1980, the U.S. Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, designed to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances. This program is what is known by the common name of Superfund. Using a number of criteria, the EPA assigns a hazard score to each site, and those above the designated threshold are assigned to the National Priorities List (NPL) for clean up. The NPL sites are what we commonly call Superfund sites.

The number of NPL sites in Missouri and several other states are given in the table below. Some of the sites are mine sites, but others represent contamination by industrial or agricultural chemicals and pollutants.

Number of National Priorities List Sites in Selected States:
North Dakota                0 (fewest in the nation)
Arkansas                      9
Iowa                            11
Kansas                        11
Missouri                      33
Illinois                         45
New Jersey               111 (most in the nation)

Source: NPL Map Using Bing Map, EPA.

Source: NPL Map Using Bing Map, EPA.

The map at right shows the location of the sites in Missouri. Yellow diamonds are sites on the NPL. Green circles are sites that were on the list, but have been removed. Red squares indicate sites that have been proposed for addition to the list. The sites cluster around St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, Joplin, and the Lead Belt mining region. In many cases, the contaminated land cannot be reclaimed. Rather, it must be removed and placed in a structure designed to prevent the contamination from escaping for a very long time. Because of discrepancies between data sources, a precise count of completed work cannot be provided here. However, it appears that work has been completed on about half the inventory.


Final National Priorities List (NPL) Sites – by State, http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/query/queryhtm/nplfin.htm#MO

Map: NPL Map Using Bing Map, http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/query/queryhtm/nplmapsb.htm

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