Overview of Actions

A lead smelter has been in operation in Herculaneum for over 100 years and is currently operated by the Doe Run Company. The smelter has violated the clean air standard for lead. Over the last twenty years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, have taken repeated action to bring the smelter into compliance with the clean air standard.

In August, 2000, the Jefferson County Health Department in conjunction with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Doe Run documented that 15 percent of children under six within one-mile of the facility have elevated levels of blood-lead.

Administrative Order on Consent (AOC)

EPA and DNR signed an Administrative Order on Consent, or AOC, with Doe Run to control and cleanup a wide array of contamination. The AOC went into effect May 29, 2001 and was the most comprehensive agreement to date with Doe Run. The AOC requires new controls on air emissions, remediation of lead contaminated residential yards, and investigation and stabilization of a contaminated slag pile located

On Aug. 21, 2001, DNR investigated a citizen complaint concerning dust spilled on the streets of Herculaneum and collected a sample of the dust. Results of the sample and subsequent investigations by the department and EPA revealed the dust contained extremely high concentrations of lead (up to 300,000 parts per million) and seemed to be associated with haul routes in and out of Herculaneum.

DNR and EPA required Doe Run to take immediate actions to clean haul roads and areas near their facility where lead dust had accumulated, and to upgrade truck cleaning operations at the facility.

On Sept. 12, 2001, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services hosted a public meeting to share information about high lead levels with the public.

DNR continued to observe violations of clean air law related to fugitive dust from the facility. On Sept. 17, 2001, EPA in coordination with DNR issued a letter to Doe Run requiring them to completely characterize residential soil contamination in Herculaneum within 60 days, and to begin residential soil replacement. Doe Run was also notified that EPA would begin limited sampling of indoor residential dust.

On Sept. 24, 2001, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services sent a letter to the department. The letter determined that lead contamination in Herculaneum presented "a clear and present risk to public health, especially pregnant women and children through age six, and is an imminent and substantial endangerment."

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Sept. 24, 2001 Letter - Herculanum Missouri Lead Contamination Public Health Risk

Sept. 24, 2001 letter to the Department of Natural Resoures' director from Maureen Dempsey

Abatement and Cease and Desist Order

Based on this letter, DNR issued an Abatement and Cease and Desist Order on Sept. 25, 2001 which details the steps Doe Run Company must take to reduce the public health and environmental threat. Actions taken by the Doe Run Company received DNR and EPA oversight. Properly trained and licensed contractors have performed cleanup work in Herculaneum. The order stated Doe Run Company must:

  • immediately cease all activities that cause fugitive dust to leave the facility;
  • immediately upgrade their truck washing facility to include all vehicles leaving contaminated areas of the plant;
  • complete all road and facility cleaning within seven days;
  • ensure that all water from street and vehicle washing is contained and treated;
  • repave any remaining contaminated roads within 60 days of the DNR's notice to proceed;
  • submit a detailed plan for discontinuing the use of open-backed trucks, either tarped or untarped, for hauling lead concentrate within 10 days;
  • cease and desist the use of open-backed trucks for hauling lead concentrate within 45 days'
  • complete all residential yard characterization and remediation outlined by EPA;
  • fund DNR or EPA to characterize and cleanup indoor residential dust;
  • cease and desist transport of lead concentrate along the streets of Herculaneum if any of the deadlines required in the order are not met.
  • This order was settled on April 26, 2002.

EPA and DNR have required expedited cleanup of all residential yards where an imminent and substantial endangerment exists. Both agencies also required additional residential soil sampling and have performed additional air monitoring. The additional sampling will help both agencies address recontamination issues.

Blood-Lead Health Consultation - Elevated Blood Level Map

On Feb. 26, 2002, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released a Health Consultation that contained the results of their blood-lead census and other sampling conducted in August and October, 2001. Overall the rate of elevated blood-lead (over 10 micrograms per deciliter) in children 6 years of age and under in Herculaneum was 28 percent. The rate of elevated blood-lead in children residing east of Highway 61-67 was 45 percent, which is the highest recorded in the state.

The DHSS Health Consultation determined a circle of contamination existed around the smelter. The elevated blood levels in children under 72 months of age were

  • 23 percent - between 1 mile and 1 ¼ mile of the smelter
  • 20 percent - between ¾ and 1 mile of the smelter
  • 35 percent - between ½ and ¾ mile of the smelter
  • 52 percent - between ¼ and ½ mile of the smelter
  • 56 percent - within ¼ of the smelter

Planned Remedial Actions Sufficient Health Consultation - April 16, 2002

On April 16, 2002, DHSS released a second Health Consultation to determine if the ongoing and planned remedial actions at the Herculaneum Lead Smelter site were sufficient to protect public health and to identify any sensitive sub-population that would require special consideration.

The document concluded that implementing the current and planned removal activities should reduce exposures to the community. However, there were some issues that have not been fully addressed including: the potential for lead-contaminated dust in uninhabited spaces to recontaminate homes after cleaning or a plan to eliminate that possibility; a plan for remediating homes where no children currently reside with soil lead levels of between 400 ppm - 2,500 ppm; emissions from the slag pile; and the apparent recontamination of streets. The document makes recommendations to address these gaps.

Third Health Consultation - Dunklin R-5 School

Historic Recontamination Rates

DNR staff estimated historic recontamination rates in Herculaneum based on residential yards that were cleaned by Doe Run from 1991 to 2000 that were located near the smelter. Average yard recontamination rates exceeded 600 ppm lead per year. If future lead emissions from the facility are cut by 90 percent, residential properties located near the smelter would still exceed the 400 ppm cleanup level in less than seven years.

The DHSS Health Consultations, Doe Run's Notices of Violations, DNR's historic recontamination rate information contributed valuable information and helped the state reach a settlement agreement with Doe Run.

Settlement Agreement Reached for Abatement and Cease and Desist Order

The final settlement agreement between the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Attorney General's Office, Department of Health and Senior Services and the Doe Run Company was signed on April 26, 2002.

The agreement resolved the Sept. 25, 2001 order issued by DNR and several notices of violation issued to the company. It does not relieve Doe Run from compliance with the Administrative Order on Consent issued May 2001, subsequent orders issued by EPA, or any future compliance with any applicable federal or state law or rule. It also does not affect any other ongoing or planned activities at the site to address air quality or contamination problems.

Voluntary Property Purchase - Buyout

Herculaneum Voluntary Property Purchase Plan - Exhibit A (7/02)

Buyout Zone Map - Exhibit B (7/02)

The centerpiece of the agreement is the voluntary property purchase. This part of the agreement requires Doe Run to offer to purchase homes within a defined area. The defined area contains approximately 160 homes for which Doe Run will be required to make a purchase offer by Dec. 31, 2004. Offers will be made in phases, priority is based on health risks. The company will make the first set of offers to homeowners with children less than 72 months of age residing in the home. The company will make the rest of the offers over a period of time ending Dec. 31, 2004. All offers will remain open until that date. The Doe Run Company may not condition any property acquisition on the homeowner providing a release from liability.

In order to ensure homeowners receive a fair offer for their home, offers will be based on a combination of "fair market value" and a "Replacement Housing Payment" (RHP). Fair market value will be based on an appraisal of the home by an independent appraiser using the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice. The RHP is a differential payment which will be computed by subtracting the fair market value from the value of a suitable replacement home currently for sale on the market of similar size, function/purpose and location (including no known adverse environmental conditions.) This process is designed to ensure homeowners are not penalized by any decrease in property value resulting from contamination.

Upkeep of the acquired properties will be the responsibility of the Doe Run Company. Homes left standing must remain vacant until such time as either the company demolishes the residence or re-deposition studies of lead contamination are complete and the Department of Health and Senior Services, the Department of Natural Resources, the city of Herculaneum and the company agree re-occupancy of a residence will not risk human health. If the Doe Run Company fails to comply with the provisions related to the voluntary property acquisition, they will be required to pay a civil penalty of $1 million.

The agreement also addresses transportation and materials handling through the Transportation and Materials Handling Plan approved by Doe Run and EPA.

For more information on the buyout agreement, contact the Missouri Department of Natural Resources at 800-361-4827.

Dunklin R-5 Schools Health Consultation - June 4, 2002

On June 4, 2002, DHSS released a third Health Consultation that responds to community concerns regarding whether the schools in Herculaneum were safe to attend for students, faculty and staff; given the community-wide lead contamination. The document examined environmental data from the schools as well as results of a blood lead screening event at the schools. Given the exposure-reduction activities taken at the Dunklin R-5 schools and the results of the District blood lead screening, exposure to lead in these schools is not likely to lead to harmful health effects. The document recommends that these activities continue.

Fourth Health Consultation - Public Health Review of the Addendum to the Quality Assurance Project PLan Concerning Interior Sampling

Lead Air Monitoring

There are eight monitors used to collect air data. The Department of Natural Resources has co-located monitors at Broad Street, the High School, the Sherman site, the Bluff site, and the Ursaline site (upwind). State data has generally agreed with Doe Run's. The department is now operating the Broad Street site twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

For the first time, all air monitoring sites in Herculaneum showed compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for lead for the first quarter of 2002. These measurements are directly representative of airborne lead exposure for this period. This was a great first step in the right direction to reach attainment.

There are several factors contributing to the lower measurements. First, the completed emission control projects have reduced emissions from the plant. The refinery building has been enclosed and ventilated through a baghouse to filter out fine particles that contain lead. The company has also eliminated and reduced several outside storage piles. This housekeeping effort reduces wind blown emissions from these storage piles. Doe Run also states they have improved the operation of their blast furnaces, reducing the number of upsets and the emissions associated with these upsets. Lastly, Doe Run is operating the smelter approximately 30 percent less than maximum production.

Doe Run must have the last of the State Implementation Plan (SIP) controls for enclosure and ventilation of the blast furnace building installed by July 31, 2002. This project is expected to reduce lead emissions by about 40 tons per year. Doe Run began operating the new baghouse during the first week of May. It is operating most of the time now, but they continue to fine-tune the equipment. Operating the baghouse should provide one half or more of the emission reductions expected for this project.

The SIP requires the site to reach attainment for lead by Aug. 14, 2002. Since the date falls in the middle of the third quarter, data will be collected for the entire quarter to determine if the site has reached attainment.

Their are six contingency measures that are triggered if attainment is not reach by the end of the third quarter. The measures involve enclosure or ventilation modifications to the Doe Run facility.

DNR will continue to meet with the citizens of Herculaneum to increase the awareness of this issue, provide assistance and explanations, respond and assure the citizens of current activities.

Impaired Waters and Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for Mississippi River near Doe Run Herculaneum Smelter

The department has proposed listing five miles of the Mississippi River as impaired due to contaminated sediments downstream from the smelter.

The list is called the 303(d) List in reference to a Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act. This statute requires states to identify waterbodies that cannot meet Water Quality Standards after applying the existing regulations. The 303(d) list (sometimes referred to as the Impaired Waters List) is actually a subset of all the impaired waters in the state. For waters on this list, a plan to fix the problem must be developed. This watershed management plan will include a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) calculation of the maximum amount of a pollutant a waterbody can absorb without being impaired. More information on TMDLs can be viewed at the department’s TMDL web page.

What are TMDLs - Fact Sheet (7/02)

Public Notice of Proposed Final Missouri Section 303d List (7/02)

Total Maximum Daily Load Information Sheet for the Mississippi River (6/02)

Public Health Review of the Addendum to the Quality Assurance Project Plan Concerning Interior Sampling - Health Consultation - Aug. 6, 2002

The fourth health consultation reviews an early version of EPA's interior recontamination sampling plan.  The document recommends the following:  assure carpet removal does not release lead from or below the carpet; develop a contingency plan for necessary actions should interior lead dust levels increase; collect dust samples from an area that combines high traffic and greater child exposure potential; when removing carpet, and consider collecting samples of dust between the floor and padding or carpet.  The document also requested more clarification on some sampling protocols.

Fifth Health Consultation - Sulfur Dioxide Monitors in Herculaneum - Oct. 22, 2002

Public Meeting on Doe Run Haul Routes is Sept. 12 Department Will Accept Comments Until Sept. 30

The department will hold a public meeting on the Doe Run Company’s proposed haul routes through Herculaneum from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 12, 2002, in the Dr. Gray Music Room, Herculaneum High School, 1 Blackcat Dr., Herculaneum.

As part of the Settlement Agreement between the Department of Natural Resources and the Doe Run Company, Doe Run must periodically assess and propose modifications to the haul route. The first proposal was due July 31, 2002. The purpose of the new haul route is to limit concentrate truck traffic to one route in an effort to minimize contact with occupied residences. The Doe Run Company has proposed three haul routes for approval by the Department of Natural Resources and the City of Herculaneum.

The Department of Natural Resources will discuss criteria for evaluating the proposed routes and the advantages and disadvantages of each proposed route.

The Doe Run Company has offered the first round of voluntary buyouts to the residents with children 72 months and younger. The Doe Run Company will begin the second round of voluntary buyouts, within the buyout zone, by the end of 2002. Revision of the haul route may be a factor in prioritizing second-round buyouts.

The Department of Natural Resources and the City of Herculaneum would like comments on the proposed haul routes. The department will accept written comments until 5 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2002. Please send copies of written comments to Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Attn: Renee Bungart, P.O. Box 176, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176; by fax to 573-751-9277; by email to environmental@dnr.mo.gov.

Map of Proposed Haul Routes

Health Consultation on Sulfur Dioxide Monitors in Herculaneum - Oct. 22, 2002

Residents living near the smelter have reported that they occasionally smell sulfur in the air, and that air emissions from the smelter have damaged paint on their cars [1]. In response to these complaints, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) asked ATSDR to review the available data and information and determine if sulfur dioxide emissions from the facility pose a public health hazard. In addition, MDHSS asked ATSDR if current ambient air monitoring for sulfur dioxide is adequate to characterize sulfur dioxide emissions from the facility.

Public Health Evaluation of Arsenic and Cadmium Levels in Air and Residential Soils - Nov. 12, 2002

Tthe Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) were asked by Herculaneum community members if arsenic and cadmium levels found in the air and in residential and school soils in the Herculaneum community could lead to adverse health effects. This health consultation responds to that request. This health consultation will assess exposure to levels of cadmium and arsenic found in sampling conducted since the fall of 2001.

Doe Run Company Dec. 3, 2002 letter

Rental of Housing in Herculaneum

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Jan. 3, 2003 letter

Reoccupation of Residences in Herculaneum

Doe Run Permit Application Public Notice - Jan. 17, 2003

The application for a Missouri State Operating Permit for The Doe Run Co. - Herculaneum Smelting Division is available for public review and comment. This notice expires Feb. 16, 2003.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources April 4, 2003 Letter

Letter to Doe Run regarding draft Transportation and Materials Handling Plan

Doe Run Herculaneum Smelter - Analysis of Recontamination of Residential Yards with Lead Fact Sheet March 12, 2004

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has analyzed the results of periodic soil sampling from yards in Herculaneum. This analysis, and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ review of the analysis, has found that in yards sampled within ¼ mile of the lead smelter there is a statistically significant increase in the concentration of lead. The increasing concentrations of lead occurred after new air emission controls installed at the facility were completed in July 2002.

Public Comment Period Begins for Administrative Order on Consent Modification - EPA Region 7 Update Number 7, June 2004

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources are asking for comments on a Modification to the Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) for the Herculaneum Lead Smelter Site in Herculaneum, Missouri. On May 17, 2004, EPA and DNR reached an agreement with The Doe Run Resources Corporation to modify the agreement.

State Plan Actions on Public Notice - Supplement to the 2007 Missouri State Implementation Plan for the Herculaneum Lead Nonattainment Area

Note icon.Note: Comments were accepted on these plan actions through close of business on July 2, 2009.

For More Information

Citizens of Herculaneum can call the department’s toll-free number at 800-361-4827 or 573-526-6627 to ask health and environmental questions concerning high lead levels in the town.

The line is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Citizens may leave a message at the numbers after-hours and on weekends. Department staff will return calls the next business day. You can report an environmental emergency by calling 573-634-2436. This phone line is answered 24 hours a day so staff can be dispatched to the scene if needed.