MADISON COUNTY MINES
On this page:
- What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Emergency Response and Removal
On related pages:
The Madison County Mines Site includes all of Madison County and the portion of the historical “Mine LaMotte Tract” that extends northward into southern St. Francois County, Missouri. Mining operations beginning in the early 1700s and ending in the mid-1900s resulted in 13 major tailings and chat deposit areas from mineral processing operations. Erosion of the tailings resulted in heavy metals contamination—primarily lead—of soils, sediments, surface water and groundwater. Contaminated soil, tailings and chat was transported to residential properties for use as foundation bases, driveway aggregate, and for use as fill and topsoil. Seven Operable Units (OUs) are designated for the site:
OU 1 – Northern Madison County Unit is located in northern Madison County and consists of the Mine La Motte Recreation Association (MLMRA) Subsite that contains approximately 250 acres of tailings; Slime Pond, a 100-acre lake used by the MLMRA; the Harmony Lake and Harmony Lake tailings (capped); Basler Mines, also referred to as Copper Mines Tailings/Shoemaker Property (removed); the Old Jack Mine; the Lindsey Mine; the Offset Mine; the small gage feeder rail right-of-way to the abandoned Black Mountain spur and abandoned Missouri Pacific Railroad right-of-way. All associated outflow locations are also included.
OU 2 - Anschutz Subsite, historically known as the Madison Mine, consists of all mining and mine works locations and adjoining areas located immediately southeast of Fredericktown. Included are the A, B, C, D and E tailings areas ; a metallurgical pond and sediment pond; remnants of an old mill and smelter and associated slag pile; head frame and abandoned shafts; a mine decline; a refinery complex; a remnant chat pile and mine dump; associated groundwater; surface water and sediments in Goose Creek, Saline Creek and Tollar Branch Creek; the abandoned Black Mountain spur rail right-of-way through Fredericktown, and all other mine works locations and outflows affected by these past mining activities.
OU 3 – Residential Properties includes residential yards, public areas, child high-use areas, roadways, right-of-ways, storm water drainages and potable groundwater at private wells in halos of mine waste, mine workings and outfalls. Details of the cleanup actions to date are included in the Site History and Enforcement Activities Sections.
OU 4 - Conrad Tailings includes a tailings pile and adjoining Ruth mine and mill complex with its mine waste, surface water and sediments affected by the mine waste, eroded materials in the unnamed tributary to Mill Creek with its floodplain and overbank deposits; adjacent road right-of-ways and drainages, mine waste pile wind-blown contamination; groundwater impacts within the mine waste locations; and all other associated mine works locations and outflows. A focused Feasibility Study (FS) and Record of Decision (ROD) were completed in 2011, and a Remedial Design (RD) was developed by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) in 2015. Final consolidation and capping of the operable unit was completed in 2018. OU4 was transferred to the State of Missouri for long-term Operation and Maintenance in September 2019.
OU 5 - Catherine Mines/Skaggs Tailings includes the Catherine Mine Subsite, the Skaggs Tailings Pile Subsite, and the Little Saint Francis River Subsite. The Catherine Mine Subsite consisting of mine waste, a pond, a residential soil disposal repository, Logtown Branch Creek and associated drainages. The Skaggs Tailings Subsite consists of mine waste and associated drainages with surface water, sediment, overbank and floodplain deposits along two unnamed drainages. Also included within the Operable Unit is the transect of a former overhead tram which transported parent rock from the Skaggs Tailings subsite to the Little St. Francis River (LSFR) Subsite for processing; the LSFR Subsite, which includes a tailings pile and mine mill works; and all other associated mine works locations and outflows. A focused FS and ROD were completed in 2012, and the RD was completed in 2014. Remedial action is underway and scheduled for completion in 2019.
OU 6 - Silver Mines includes all other known and undiscovered mining-related contaminated areas including but not limited to the Silver Mines area with the Einstein and Apex mines; Hickory Nut tailings locations 1, 2 and 3 (3 has been removed), nearby groundwater, surface waters and sediments in the unnamed runoffs to the Saint Francis and Little Saint Francis River; road right-of-way; public drainage ways; and mine works locations and outflows. A portion of this OU is located on U.S. Forest Service property.
OU7 – Little Saint Francis River (LSFR) Watershed includes all surface water, floodplain soil, overbank deposits, and sediments in the Fredericktown City Lake and streams in the LSFR watershed that are not specifically addressed under other OUs. The Remedial Investigation is underway, with supplemental sampling to complete the RI to begin in late 2020.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through the removal of lead-contaminated soil and the replacement with clean backfill and topsoil at residential properties. Mine waste locations are also being addressed in a phased approach through grading and capping as Records of Decision are developed for those areas. A Health Education Program and a Voluntary Institutional Program (VICP) have been implemented through cooperative agreements with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and managed through the Madison County Health Department to raise public awareness of the presence of lead and its impact to human health and the environment. The VICP has been implemented to monitor ground disturbance activities at any location throughout Madison County and provide sampling, training and assistance to the citizens, public utilities and contractors to ensure proper handling and disposal of contamination designed to prevent the future spread of lead contamination and protecting the properties that have been cleaned up.
The EPA became involved with the MDNR concerning preliminary characterization of the site beginning in the late 1980s. In the mid-to-late 1990s, some children living in and around mine waste locations were determined by testing to exhibit elevated blood-lead levels. The EPA responded with removal assessment activities in early 2000, implementing time-critical removal actions at residential properties. Based on the preliminary assessment and site investigation results, the site was added to the National Priority List in 2003. Removal assessment and removal action activities expanded throughout the entire county where it was determined approximately 42 percent of residential properties, which includes public use and child high-use areas such day care facilities, parks and greenways, were contaminated. Removal actions were discontinued in 2006 with 813 properties remediated. Remedial action began in 2008 under an Interim Record of Decision and continued through 2012 where an additional 880 properties were remediated. The Final Record of Decision for OU3 was completed in 2014, and 84 properties were cleaned up in 2016. 293 residential properties were cleaned up from November 2017 through December 2019 under a site-specific contract than continues through late 2020. EPA's residential cleanup contractor Environmental Restoration Inc. is active in Madison County as of 2020. Mine waste piles have been removed at the Basler subsite of OU1 and the Little Saint Francis River tailings pile subsite of OU5, and the Harmony Lake mine waste pile has been consolidated and capped. The Conrad/Ruth Mine Operable Unit (OU4) was completed in 2018 and was transferred to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) for long-term operation and maintenance in 2019, and cleanup at the Skaggs Tailings, Catherine Mine, and Little Saint Francis River Subsites was completed in 2019, with final capping of the waste in permanent repositories at the Catherine Mine and Skaggs Tailings Subsites nearing completion in early 2020, and transfer to MDNR for long term operation and maintenance planned for 2021. Missouri Mining Investments LLC purchased the tract of land at OU2 formerly owned by the Anschutz Mining Corporation in 2018 and entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with the EPA in February 2019 to perform supplemental characterization of environmental contamination within their property boundaries and to consolidate and cap the waste as a Time-Critical Removal Action. That waste consolidation and capping will begin in early 2020.
What Is the Current Site Status?
OU1, the Mine La Motte area - Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) activities remain ongoing as part of a combined OU RI/FS. The EPA performed an evaluation of Potentially Responsible Parties that concluded in 2019. This evaluation will inform future negotiations for additional RI/FS evaluation of the Operable Unit.
OU2, the former Madison Mine - The EPA has communicated with PRPs and is in the process of establishing their involvement to complete an RI/FS. Missouri Mining Investments LLC purchased the tract of land at OU2 formerly owned by the Anschutz Mining Corporation in 2018 and entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with the EPA in February 2019 to perform supplemental characterization of environmental contamination within their property boundaries and to consolidate and cap the waste as a Time-Critical Removal Action. The EPA performed an extensive evaluation of Potentially Responsible Parties that concluded in 2019 and will inform future negotiations for additional RI/FS evaluation of the Operable Unit.
OU3, residential and public use areas - Removal and remedial action has addressed approximately 2,000 residential properties to date. Ongoing cleanup activities expected to be completed under the 2014 Record of Decision include the residential cleanup of an estimated 80 additional properties in 2020. The current phase of residential cleanup, which began in 2015, is anticipated to be largely completed by late 2020 using site-specific contracts. Beyond 2020, future cleanup contracts may be necessary as additional eligible properties are identified. Residential soil is currently being consolidated on the northeastern end of the Mine La Motte pile.
OU4, the Conrad subsite - The Record of Decision was signed in 2011 with a remedy to consolidate and cap mine waste and address downstream floodplain and sediments and right-of-ways. The site was also used by EPA's contractors as a residential soils repository through 2016. Consolidation of contamination at OU4, including downstream sediments and floodplain deposits began in 2015 and was completed in 2018. OU4 was transferred to MDNR for long-term operation and maintenance in September 2019.
OU5, Catherine Mine, Skaggs Tailings Pile, Little Saint Francis River Tailings Pile and Mill - A focused FS and ROD were completed in 2012, and the RD was completed in 2014. Remedial action is underway and scheduled for completion in 2020, consisting of consolidation and capping of wastes at the Catherine Mine and Skaggs Tailings Pile Subsites. Those permanent soil repositories will be transferred to the MDNR for long-term operation and maintenance in 2021.
OU6, Silver Mines - U.S. Forest Service has reportedly covered areas of soil contamination and chat at picnic and campgrounds on National Forest properties. The EPA is in discussion with the USFS to establish a plan to complete the RI/FS for mine waste contamination in the Silver Mines area.
OU7, Little Saint Francis River Watershed - RI/FS was initiated in September 2015 with the development of a Watershed Master Plan implemented through a cooperative agreement between the EPA and Madison County. EPA's Office of Research and Development has contracted to develop a watershed physical model, and has separately contracted to evaluate the feasibility of constructing a repository for contaminated sediments on city of Fredericktown property west of the City Lake. The United States Geological Survey performed a geophysical survey to evaluate the preliminary suitability of the site in summer 2018. Additional evaluation of that area is planned for late 2019/early 2020. RI activities are ongoing, with supplemental sampling to complete the RI planned for late 2020.
Emergency Response and Removal
Cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. In 2003, the EPA removed soils exceeding maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). The EPA also cleaned up over 800 residential properties with contaminated soils. A Time-Critical Removal Action is planned for contamination on the Missouri Mining Investments property beginning in 2020.