Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma gets nearly $5 million for Tar Creek cleanup

The Tar Creek Superfund site in Picher, Oklahoma in 2008. Photo via EPA

PICHER, Okla. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded nearly $5 million to the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma for continued cleanup efforts of the Tar Creek Superfund site.

The tribe will use the money to continue cleaning up contaminated soils on tribal lands.

“The Quapaw Tribe is fortunate to be true partners with the EPA,” said Quapaw Tribe Chairman John Berrey.  “The people of Region 6 have been the best teammates we could ask for, and with the new Administrator Scott Pruitt we fit into the future of the EPA because of our tireless quality work and our ability to do more with less. We have a responsibility to be good stewards of the American tax payers resources.”

The Tar Creek Superfund site is a 40-square-mile area in northeast Oklahoma that also included portions of Missouri and Kansas. It was once one of the world’s most productive regions for lead and zinc. The EPA says more than $300 million has been committed to cleaning up mining-related pollution, including the 2009 federal buyout to the residents of Picher.

The EPA says about 600 acres of private and tribal land are ready for reuse as a result of the cleanup efforts so far.