Quapaw Tribe to partner with EPA on remediation project

June 10, 2014

There are a number of contaminated sites in both Oklahoma and Kansas. To remediate them, federal officials are working with locals—in this case, the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma.

According to a recent press release, the tribe recently signed an agreement with the State of Oklahoma and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remediate properties within the Tar Creek Superfund and the Cherokee County Superfund

The former property will be administered through the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) and through EPA Region 7, according to a report by the Cherokee County News-Advocate. Work will require the removal of approximately 72,000 tons of contaminated material, which will be taken to a storage repository.

The Quapaw Tribe already has some experience remediation contaminated property. Earlier this year, the tribe of became the first American Indian tribe to perform a Superfund clean-up project.

"We completed the first clean-up less expensively and better than previous efforts," Quapaw Chairman John Berrey said, referring to the remediation of the Catholic Forty Superfund site. "Our goal is to make this land useful and productive again. We live here and we care about the outcomes, so we are very pleased to have these two new agreements in place."

The latter project will be conducted alongside the EPA. It will involve 11 separate properties within the Cherokee County Superfund site, and area that was home to mining and smelting for more than 150 years, which contributed heavily to its contamination problem.

The Quapaw Tribe's experience with previous cleanup activities should help it find success with this project. However, it will still be useful to work with environmental consultants for further guidance.