We will learn from Terri Boguski, the technical advisor provided through the Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) how the Superfund process works. Terrie will explain what’s been done so far at this site and where we are in the planning of the next phase, or Operable Unit.
What’s the Plan for the meeting? The public is invited to come and bring a friend. Spend some time with your kids this week and make up some signs that show you care… about the environment, clean water, clean air and getting polluters to clean up their mess and about the agency that can make that all happen.
At Thursday’s meeting there will be time to ask questions and give suggestions. Act like you care about the watershed, because I know you do. People don’t live in a water town and not care. Remind your friends who live on the banks of these streams, creeks and rivers that this piece of the Tar Creek Superfund site work will be for you.
I have stood on Tony Booth’s overlook of the river with his Statue of Liberty and know he cares dearly about it, as do his neighbors. Your friends who live in the neighborhoods along Tar Creek and also those who live along the Neosho River will want to come, because they care about their watershed. Land owners on the Spring River and folks living on the lake care, too. Help me to remind them to attend this short and informative meeting to share what they know with EPA. What you know may make this plan be the best it can.
Make a banner and carry it in with messages about how water is life. That would be cool to see. Our Tar Creek has lost the city signs that identify her, so mention her on a sign and bring it to the meeting.
A sign for the Neosho River featuring her Spoonbill would be a hit.
State Department of Environmental Quality, EPA, Fish and Wildlife representatives and environmental department staff from the local Tribes including the Cherokee Nation have been meeting for quite some time about what to do about the sediments and the surface water in the watershed. They have met and studied, they have collected samples, analyzed them and shared the data. EPA has had that data compiled and they have decided there are some gaps. Some things have yet to be sampled.
The meeting you will attend this week at the Miami Civic Center will catch you up on the Superfund Process here at the Tar Creek Superfund Site, but will give you a chance way before they make their final decisions on what the cleanup will be. You may have answers EPA needs to make the plan better for the local environment and for those who reside downstream.
When LEAD Agency partnered with the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center on the Grand Lake Mercury Study, we met people who fish and eat our local fish. Everyone of them and every other person who eats local fish should come to this meeting because they care about this watershed because this watershed provides for them.
EPA knows this watershed has been damaged by the legacy lead and zinc mining that occurred in Kansas and Missouri and ends up coming down the Spring River to the Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees. Mining that occurred in Oklahoma appears in the mine water discharges and the chat loaded with metals that enters the Neosho River and flows to meet up with the Spring River at the Twin Bridges. So far this Operable Unit 5 is set to go to the “train trestle” just as the two rivers meet.
Sampling has been done and what has been sampled will be listed at the meeting you will attend. But most of the people who work at the state and federal agencies don’t know what you know. They don’t know what parts of a duck you eat, they don’t know if any of you ever eat any other water fowl and don’t have a clue how you might prepare it. This could matter because the plan to clean up this site so it protects the environment but also importantly, that human health is protected depends on exposure.
And your input is needed at this stage in the plan. Knowing what you are consuming and where it is caught, where it has lived could change their workplan to make it be more protective.
I am all about that and you would be too. We are only going to get one shot at a cleanup, it better be as good as it can be. We better hope we get the cleanup we deserve. It has been a long time in the making.
Having you attend this meeting would be a sign, the best sign I could ever wish to see, and your presence would read, “You Care.”