On-Site Closure of Former Lead Smelter


Eagle-Picher Custodial Trustee


Galena, KS

CEC Services

  • Extent of Contamination Study
  • Disposal Cell Design
  • Remediation Oversight
  • Confirmatory Sampling
  • Stream Assessment
  • Wetland Delineation
  • Permitting
  • Abandoned Mine Workings Investigation
  • Building Clean-out

Owner Objective

The Eagle-Picher (EP) Custodial Trustee was required to close the former Eagle-Picher Lead Smelter site in Galena, Kansas. The smelter processed lead, zinc and cadmium ores from the late 1800s through 1971.

CEC prepared and implemented a site investigation and remediation program for the closure. The smelting had impacted surface and near-surface soils, and a stream that passed through the site. Groundwater at the site was not addressed due to a U.S. EPA finding of technical impracticability. The environmental investigation and remediation activities were performed pursuant to a Kansas Settlement Agreement between the Trustee and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

Site Characterization

CEC completed 2 phases of site investigations to evaluate the nature and extent of contamination from the smelter operations. The investigations included excavation of test pits on the smelter property and adjacent outparcels owned by the Trustee, exploratory drilling for underground mine workings, scanning of surface and subsurface soil samples in the field using x-ray fluorescence (XRF) equipment with fixed-lab confirmation on a percentage of the XRF samples, speciation testing of samples to determine origin of the lead contamination, and testing of surface water and sediment in a stream that flows through the site. CEC utilized lead mineral speciation to determine smelter sources of lead (anglesite and anglesite + 10) versus other sources, which focused clean-up efforts to only those areas contaminated by the smelting operation. XRF, with confirmatory laboratory sampling, was used to delineate areas of contamination. During the investigation, CEC screened over two thousand soil samples for metals analysis using XRF. All analytical data were maintained in an environmental database for ease of retrieval, analysis, and reporting.

Corrective Measures Study and Selection of Remedial Alternative

The findings of the investigation identified the presence of up to 350,000 mg/kg of lead, over 18,000 mg/kg mercury, and elevated levels of zinc and arsenic in near surface and subsurface materials. These same metals were also detected in surface water and sediment. CEC evaluated alternatives to address impacted materials and the stream. With the input of stakeholders and in the interest of promoting redevelopment of the western area of the Site, the corrective action selected to achieve Site Remedial Action Objectives (RAO) included excavation, consolidation and capping of contaminated soil and smelter waste in excess of non-residential RSK Levels, as well as submerged contaminated sediments in excess of the mercury Permissible Exposure Concentration (PEC), into a single consolidation cell east of the former Smelter Plant Area. The corrective measures proposed for the stream included stream bank restoration measures following removal of lead-contaminated sediments. The impacted sediments were to be dredged from a 2000-foot stretch of the adjacent Short Creek.