JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — Cleaning up mine waste has led to a transformation just Southwest of 26th and McClelland in Joplin.

“That is of mine waste area 34,” said Liz Blackburn, EPA Remedial Proj. Mgr.

And the cleanup doesn’t stop there.

The Environmental Protection Agency is working on the next projects, including an area just Northeast of Schifferdecker and Belle Center Road.

It sits across the street from another site, which was remediated in recent years.

“Several new projects planned over the course of these next couple of years. So we are currently designing cleanup areas for 300 acres and we plan to clean up about 4 million cubic yards of mine waste the next couple of years. And that’s just mine waste areas. We’re also currently sampling residential properties and plan to expand those efforts as well,” said Blackburn.

The EPA has spent the last 30 years working in what’s known at the Oronogo-Duenweg Superfund Site, roughly the Western half of Jasper County.

It adds up to 24 million cubic yards of mine waste cleaned up, including more than 3,000 home sites.

And now, the EPA is hoping to expand the project area to all of Jasper County.

“When mining was conducted in Jasper County, it was more so kind of smaller mining operations. But yeah, again, those weren’t limited to you know, the Joplin area. They were also conducted in Carthage and Sarcoxie as well,” said Blackburn.

EPA employees met this morning with the Jasper County Commission to discuss a potential expansion to the Superfund Site.

“There’s been some considerable amount of sampling in Carthage on residential properties just to see what the answer is from contamination areas. And we found that a fairly high rate of properties that we would consider to be likely targets for cleanup in the future,” said Dan Kellerman, EPA Lead Proj. Mgr.

County commissioners said they would consider the expansion but have not yet taken any action on the proposal.

Those interested in volunteering for soil or well testing can contact the EPA through email at BLACKBURN.LIZI@EPA.GOV