Google Earth screenshot.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Three Oronogo, Mo. property owners are being sued by the EPA after a suit was filed this month in the U.S. Federal Court Western District of Missouri. The EPA says for years the property owners have continuously refused, and continue to refuse, to allow EPA access to clean up their properties of past mine waste.

According to the suit, “Properties are part of the Oronogo/Duenweg Mining Belt Superfund Site, a large Superfund site that is contaminated with mining waste. The mining waste has high levels of lead, cadmium, and zinc, which are hazardous to human health and the environment. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has completed cleanup of mining wastes on properties owned by others in the vicinity of the Properties.”

However these property owners will not allow EPA access to test their soils which in turn could result in necessary clean up.

  • Patricia R. West
  • Ronald West d/b/a RGW Sales & Service
  • Randy C. Pendergraft

The West properties are seven parcels of land including 205 Ivy Road, where the business RGW Sales and Service is located.

The Pendergraft property, 302 Dewey Street, is located to the east of the West properties.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) specifically authorizes the EPA to access properties that are necessary to cleaning up mining waste. CERCLA was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter on December 11, 1980. It created the Superfund program for cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants.

The disputed properties are part of the Oronogo/Duenweg Mining Belt Superfund Site. The Site comprises approximately 250 square miles and is located in Jasper County and Newton County, Missouri. The Site is in the Missouri portion of the Tri-State Mining District, which also includes portions of Kansas and Oklahoma.

On August 30, 1990, EPA placed the Oronogo/Duenweg Mining Belt Site on the National Priorities List. The National Priorities List is the list of hazardous waste sites designated at “Superfund” sites under CERCLA.

In the filing the EPA states, “The Properties were used in the past as a disposal area for mining wastes. About six acres of mining wastes are on the West Property. A much smaller area on the Pendergraft Property also contains mining wastes.

Hazardous substances in the mining wastes including lead, zinc and cadmium are contained in the mining wastes and are released into the environmental from the Properties. EPA estimates that about 150,000 cubic yards of such mining wastes are located on the Properties.

“The mining wastes on the West Property are located primarily on undeveloped areas of that property. In addition, there are mining wastes adjacent to the residence on the West Property, and mining wastes also are located on the areas used by RGW Sales & Service, which includes a structure used for business, gravel parking areas, and a large gravel lot used for storage of autos and scrap metal.”

EPA FEDERAL COURT FILING

The properties are located in a residential area. They include runoff waters that flow into nearby Center Creek.

Property owners have until January 26, 2022, to file an opposition to access to their properties. As of Friday, January 14, 2022, nothing has been filed by the defendants.

A sign has appeared at the West property, 205 Ivy Road, that appears to speak for the property owners.

IT APPEARS CITIES ARE
TAKING OUR PROPERTY
RIGHTS EXCHD 4 GRANT
MONEY NON CONSENT

(reverse)
BEWARE OF TOXIC
GRANT MONEY

On January 12, 2022, a motion for summary judgment order was filed. If unopposed the Federal Court will authorize entry on land and directing compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency. The U.S. Marshal Service will execute access to properties before the deadline of April 12, 2022.

TAKEN AT 205 IVY ROAD, JANUARY 17, 2022.

This is a developing story. Stay with Joplin News First as we continue to learn more. Subscribe to our daily newsletter so you don’t miss an article. Click here then check the box next to our name and click subscribe.