Justice Opens 30-Day Public Comment Period on Proposed Settlement for Natural Resource Damages at Waco Subsite of Cherokee County NPL Site, Kansas

Last edited 09/03/2020

mine tailings at Waco Subsite
This abandoned mine tailings impoundment at the Waco Subsite, shown here in January 2004, is one of the sources of hazardous substances released at the Cherokee County NPL site in southeastern Kansas. Photo credit: John Miesner, FWS.

On May 1, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a 30-day public comment period on a proposed settlement with E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company for natural resource damages at the Waco Subsite of the Cherokee County NPL site in southeastern Kansas. The proposed settlement is embodied in a Consent Decree that was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas on April 19, 2012.

The natural resource trustees in this case include State of Kansas, represented by Department of Health and Environment and the Secretary of the Department of Health and Environment, and U.S. Department of the Interior, represented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the Cherokee County Superfund Site on the National Priorities List in 1983. The Site, comprising 115 square miles in southeastern Kansas, near the borders with Oklahoma and Missouri, has been divided into 7 subsites: Badger, Baxter Springs, Crestline, Galena, Lawton, Treece and Waco. The Waco Subsite, located about 6 miles north of Riverton, Kansas, covers about 560 acres. Cow Creek and an unnamed tributary run through the Waco Subsite.

Mines and other properties owned or operated by E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and its predecessors-in-interest have released and continue to release hazardous substances -- including lead, cadmium and zinc -- into the environment at the Waco Subsite and into Cow Creek. These hazardous substances releases have injured natural resources and natural resource services including: groundwater, surface water, sediments, terrestrial resources, resident and migratory birds, fish, macroinvertebrates and other biota.

Under the proposed settlement in the lodged Consent Decree, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company will:

  • Pay $181,852.00 to be used by the natural resource trustees for the assessment, planning, restoration, rehabilitation and/or acquisition of the equivalent of injured natural resources at the Waco Subsite and area surface waters;
  • Pay $12,505.00 plus interest to reimburse DOI for associated natural resource damage assessment costs; and,
  • Pay $58,382.00 to reimburse the State of Kansas for associated natural resource damage assessment costs.

Written comments regarding the lodged Consent Decree must be received by the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division by Thursday, May 31, 2012.

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