Page 5 - Elements-Winter2013
P. 5
elements WINTER 2013

An aerial photograph of the
EaglePicher smelter facility
and site taken in 1945.




























A REMEDIATION PLAN BREATHES NEW LIFE INTO A HISTORIC MINING SITE




Dale Oglesby leases ten acres “The diff erence between back then nearly 150 acres is an awesome task,” said
of a former smelter site in Galena, Kansas, and today cannot be overstated.” West. “The key thing was CEC’s approach for
for his salvaged materials business; he also – Dale Oglesby, Mayor of Galena, Kansas characterization of the site’s environmental
just so happens to be the town’s mayor. issues.”
Galena was a mining boomtown named To delineate areas of contamination, CEC
after its rich deposits of lead sulfi de, an performed instant on-site screening of soil
ore found in abundance in the area. To samples using an X-ray fl uorescence (XRF)
extract valuable metals such as lead or spectrometer, saving time and limited
zinc from the ore, extreme heat and a cleanup funds. CEC was instrumental in
chemical reducing agent decompose the helping state agencies understand the
ore in a process called smelting, releasing effi cacy of the XRF for accurate readings
byproducts as gases or slag and leaving (versus conventional testing and lab
only the desired metals. In 1878, the characterization).
EaglePicher Company built the only smelter The prescribed remediation involved
in town. It was the largest lead and zinc excavation of impacted soils and on-site
smelter in the world. encapsulation in a consolidation cell
EaglePicher was smelting in spades until The site investigation identifi ed the presence of up topped with a revegetated cover, which CEC
1980, after the mines were exhausted and to 350,000 mg/kg of lead and more than 18,000 designed. Short Creek, a stream running
Galena’s mining companies abandoned mg/kg of mercury, among other contaminants. through the property, was dredged of lead-
ship. The smelter would soon be abandoned contaminated sediments, and upland areas
as well. William West, the Custodial Trustee for the along the stream were remediated, regraded
remediation fund. “My business encourages and revegetated. In all, 191,000 cubic yards
EaglePicher declared Chapter 11 Bankruptcy reutilization of old assets,” said Oglesby. of soil were included in the earthwork plan.
in 2005, and assets of value were sold “I knew the EaglePicher facility would be a
nationwide. However, there remained classic example of fi nding a way to make “Environmental actions will be complete
seventeen environmentally impaired sites, salvaged property useful again.” before the end of 2013,” said Knuth. All of
including the smelter in Galena. A trust CEC was retained in 2006 as the the buildings also were remediated and are
fund was established to remediate the environmental consulting fi rm for all of now being utilized—nothing was wasted.
impaired sites to commercial and industrial the impaired EaglePicher sites, with Vice Acres where smelter waste and heavy metal
standards, of which $6.5 million was President Marty Knuth serving as project contamination prevented vegetation for
dedicated to the highly contaminated manager. An environmental investigation 100 years are now reseeded and growing.
148-acre Galena site. “There has been a dramatic change in the
program was prepared and implemented landscape,” said Oglesby. “If it hadn’t been
Not wanting to lose the historical mining- to evaluate the nature and extent of for the Custodial Trust and CEC, the site
era structures, Mayor Oglesby contacted contamination in Galena. “Dealing with wouldn’t be what it is today.” ■
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