Lead is a naturally occurring element in our environment. However, when lead is present in high levels in our soil and water, it presents a threat to human health and the environment. High levels of lead can be harmful to humans (particularly children) when ingested or inhaled. For information about the effects caused by lead, visit the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services Lead Poisoning webpage.
High levels of lead in the environment can be caused by mining, milling, transporting and smelting lead and storing slag, a by-product of lead smelting. The department currently has active permits issued to three hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities for lead related operations:
- Exide Technologies, Forest City - Store whole "spent" lead-acid batteries, disassemble lead-acid batteries and dispose of hazardous waste (slag) produced by Exide in an on-site landfill.
- Buick Resource Recycling Facility, Boss - Store whole "spent" lead-acid batteries, disassemble lead-acid batteries and dispose of hazardous waste (slag) in an on-site landfill.
- EaglePicher Technologies LLC, Joplin - Former lead smelter performing long-term monitoring and maintenance of former lead surface impoundments and monitoring heavy metal groundwater contamination.
Some former mining, milling and smelting sites have long since been abandoned by companies that may no longer exist. Investigation or cleanup activities at uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste contaminated sites are performed by the department's Superfund staff. A list of Missouri lead mining sites currently on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund: National Priorities List can be found on the department's Superfund Lead Sites webpage.
When a hazardous substance or pollutant release occurs, the state and federal trusties work to restore, rehabilitate, replace or acquire natural resources equal to those injured by the release. The trustees are tasked with determining the type and extent of injuries to the natural resources and restoring the injured natural resources for the benefit of the public when possible. For more information, visit the department's Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration (NRDAR) webpage.