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EPA in Missouri

Newton County Mine Tailings National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Site, Newton County, Missouri - Fact Sheet, December 2020

Site Update – Remedial and Removal Actions


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is addressing lead and heavy metals contamination across the Newton County Mine Tailings (NCMT) National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Site (site).

This Fact Sheet provides an update regarding lead testing and cleanup activities under the remedial program project areas and three removal actions. EPA’s new and ongoing site actions have aimed to reduce exposure to lead and other heavy metal contaminants to fulfill EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment.


image of NCMT site map 12-2020     SITE LOCATION MAPThe site stretches across about 300 square miles in northern Newton County (and surrounding areas) and is part of the Tri-State Mining District (TMSD) where mining, milling and smelting of lead and zinc ore started in the mid-1800s and continued for more than 100 years. (See Site Location Map at right.) EPA has been investigating and cleaning up site contamination since 1986. EPA added the NCMT Site to the NPL in 2003, and removal actions began in 1999 on what would become project areas known as Operable Units 1 and 2 (OU1 and OU2). EPA later divided the site into four total OUs as follows:
OU0 – Sitewide Activities
OU1 – Diamond/Spring City/Granby
OU2 – Remainder of Newton County
OU3 – Spring River Watershed

The NCMT NPL Site’s OUs are in different stages of the Superfund remedial process. In 2010, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) regarding the remedy to clean up contaminated wastes, soils and sediments at the site. To date, approximately 120,000 cubic yards of mine waste and contaminated soil have been excavated from the different OUs, and 100 acres of mined land have been restored to beneficial use. The First Five-Year Review (FYR) of the remedy for the site was completed in November 2019.

FYRs are required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) when hazardous substances remain on-site above levels that permit unrestricted use and unlimited exposure. FYRs provide an opportunity to evaluate the site remedy to determine whether it remains protective of human health and the environment. As a result of the First FYR, EPA concluded that the site remedy is expected to be protective upon completion of site activities. EPA will continue to assess risks associated with soil cleanup levels and new scientific information associated with blood lead levels.

About the Contamination

Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Lead is classified by EPA as a probable human carcinogen and is a cumulative toxicant. Children are more sensitive than adults to lead and can develop lifelong learning disabilities and behavior problems from lead exposure.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should also avoid exposure to lead to protect their children. The primary contaminants of concern at this site are lead, zinc and cadmium. For more information about this cleanup, preventing lead exposure risks, and annual childhood lead-testing recommendations, see EPA’s other NCMT Site Fact Sheets and additional site information.


Under two time-critical EPA Removal Actions aimed to reduce exposure to lead and other heavy metal contaminants, EPA is testing for lead in soil and private, domestic drinking water wells at residential properties and high child-use areas across the county. EPA staff or a field support contractor will work with property owners to gain access to conduct lead testing. If your residential property has not been tested for lead contamination, talk with EPA about testing your yard or private well (see EPA contacts below).

EPA is also conducting removal activities at the Granby “Dick Smith” City Park under OU2 of the site. The park is a high child-use area located in the center of Granby. EPA is cleaning up areas of the park with high concentrations of lead contamination, which are likely attributable to historical mining and smelting operations in the TSMD.


Explanation of Significant Differences

In 2020, EPA sought public input to finalize an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to the 2010 ROD. The ESD finalized the decision to use two additional central repositories to contain mining and milling wastes, soils and sediments (separate from waste disposal at the Granby Central Repository).

Status of Remedial Activities

EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the next phase of remedial activities with construction work in spring 2020 in the Granby area. This remedial action will include the cleanup of heavy metals-contaminated mining wastes, soil and sediment.

In 2020, EPA awarded a contract to begin remediation (cleanup) activities in the Spring City/Spurgeon area. Future work at the site includes remediation in Wentworth, Stark City, Diamond, and the closure of the central repositories. Throughout the project, EPA will continue to work on road repair and revegetation. EPA continues to sample both residential and non-residential properties throughout the county.

EPA will also continue to solicit input from the public during various phases of EPA’s actions at the site and provide opportunities for community involvement. Contact EPA for more information about community involvement and technical assistance at the site.


An Information Repository and Administrative Record (AR) file for this site are available at (under Site Documents & Data). EPA posts Fact Sheets for Missouri cleanups online. Learn about Superfund community involvement.

For more information about lead, visit:


The only way to know if your child has elevated blood lead levels is to have his or her blood tested. EPA encourages parents to have their children tested for lead exposure. Talk to your pediatrician, general physician, or local health department to learn what you can do and to have your child tested. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to check you or your child for lead exposure.

For more information on local blood testing for children and pregnant women, please contact: Newton County Health Department, 812 W Harmony St., Neosho, MO 64850; phone: 417-451-3743.


EPA encourages community members to ask questions and report any concerns about this site. If you have questions about this Fact Sheet, need additional information about the site, and/or would like to receive site updates, please contact EPA:

EPA site contacts can also be reached toll-free at 1-800-223-0425.

Mailing address:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 7 
11201 Renner Boulevard, Lenexa, KS 66219      
Toll-free: 1-800-223-0425