Government accuses company of disposing of hazardous waste near residential area

By Charmaine Little | Oct 12, 2018

The property is a unit of the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site in St. Francois County.   Jon Roanhaus via wikicommons

ST. LOUIS –– An industrial company faces a federal lawsuit for allegedly disposing of hazardous materials in St. Francois County.

The United States Attorney General's Office and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a complaint on Oct. 4 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri against NL Industries Inc.

The property is a unit of the Big River Mine Tailings Superfund Site in St. Francois County. The area includes eight major chat piles and tailing pond areas that cover thousands of acres. Those eight areas are known as Desloge, National, Leadwood, Elvins, Bonne Terre, Federal (which includes St. Joe State Park), Doe Run and Hayden Creek. Each of the sites are considered a waste pile and contain hazardous materials such as lead, zin, and cadmium.

The unit includes the “residential yards,” which consist of single and multifamily homes, apartment complexes, vacant lots, daycare centers, schools, playgrounds and parks.

“NL and/or its corporate predecessors disposed of hazardous substances, including lead, at the National Waste Pile during the times that they owned and/or operated the National Waste Pile,” the complaint states. “Hazardous substances, including lead, have been released to the environment at and from the National Waste Pile to Residential Yards within St. Francois County.”

Children under seven are the most vulnerable to the exposure of these hazardous materials.

The U.S. sued for recovery of any response costs already incurred and costs for any future actions. The U.S. also asked the court for a declaration that NL is responsible for any future response costs in relation to the unit in question for the site.

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