Superfund | KCUR

Superfund

Kansas Historical Society

The federal government recently tore up Debbie and Tony Morrison’s front yard in the small southeast Kansas town of Caney.

And the two are happy about it.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency came in, scraped away contaminated dirt, replaced it with clean soil and spread sod on top.

“It actually looks very good,” Morrison said. “After they put the new grass in, they came down and they faithfully watered and cared for it continually until they felt like it had taken hold.”

Roy Inman

For all the reasons one thinks of a small town in America — a small, blue-collar community where people leave their doors unlocked and kids play ball in the streets — Picher, Oklahoma was a fantastic place to grow up.

Ed Keheley remembers the closeness of his community.

“The adults in the community basically policed all the kids. You were afraid to do something, if anyone saw it they would immediately call your parents,” Keheley told Steve Kraske on KCUR’s Up To Date.  

Picher, Oklahoma rode the wave of lead and zinc mining in the region that began in the late 19th Century. By 1980 it was an EPA Superfund site and by the 2010 Census, fewer than 20 persons were counted as residents. We look at how Picher is remembered through former residents and through the lens of a local artist.

Guests:

Soil Cleanup Underway In Southwest Missouri

Oct 5, 2012
wikimedia commons

When the tornado tore through Joplin and Duquesne in southwest Mo. in May 2011, not only did it kill 161 people and destroy thousands of buildings, it also unearthed something dangerous: