ST. FRANCOIS COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Efforts are underway to clean up lead contamination St. Joe State Park in St. Francois County.
The Doe Run Resources Corporation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources' (MDNR) Division of State Parks are focusing on a 1,240 acre portion of the St. Joe State Park.
The site is on the EPA's National Priorities List for cleanup of hazardous lead.
The park portion of the site was given to the state by St. Joe Minerals Corporation in 1976 which changed it's name to Doe Run Resources Corporation in 1994. The land was used for lead mining and milling operations.
St. Joe State Park is now used for off-road vehicle riding, camping, picnicking, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and fishing.
However, soils at the site are "extensively contaminated with toxic lead and lead compounds from mining wastes that accumulated over several decades," according to the EPA.
Recent inspections of the site found soil samples to contain up to 20,000 parts per million of lead.
Elevated lead levels in sediment, surface water, and aquatic life adjacent to the site in the Shaw Branch of Flat River, a tributary of Big River have also been found.
Doe Run and MDNR have 60 days to submit a draft work plan to EPA.
EPA estimates that the removal of the lead will cost about $7 million and take approximately 18 months to complete.
Special funds set up through a bankruptcy settlement will pay for most of the cost.