Residents Updated on Tar Creek Superfund

Residents Updated on Tar Creek Superfund
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Grove Resident Jim Wikel isn’t concerned for himself knowing local fish may be contaminated with mining waste.

“I probably shouldn’t worry too much about ingesting enough heavy metals,” Wikel said. “I’ve already done enough damage as it is.”

But he is worried about the safety of future generations

“We have that piles of waste, the chat piles,” Wikel said. “And when it rains, it seeps into the groundwater. Then it ends up in the fish, the plants. And then the people eat that. So we’re gonna be seeing this for generation to come.”

He’s one of the community members at the Miami Civic Center Thursday evening, listening to a summary of progress and findings by the EPA on the Tar Creek Superfund site.

Many are hearing for the first time that after 30-plus years of cleanup and study there’s still years to go before the Tar Creek site is considered reusable.

“I’m hoping to hear that the Tar Creek problem is — that they have some solution for it,” Ottawa County resident Tony Booth said.

The Tar Creek Superfund site is still in the remedial investigation and feasibility study phase. Essentially meaning the EPA is still figuring out what needs to be done before deciding how to clean possibly poisonous bodies of water.

The audience also gets the chance to explain how they use the land, so it uses can be explored and known if it’s safe.

“They’re people that love the lake and love the waterways. People that live on these rivers and live by the creeks,” event organizer Rebecca Jim said. “And they are going to offer suggestions on what else should be looked at.”

“My main concern, are the fish really edible? Are you gonna get sick?,” Booth said.

“That kinda makes me upset. When I think about that and think about these kids,” Wikel said. “Some of the cleanup is going to be going on for another 20 years. It’s kind of frustrating to see.”

L.E.A.D. Agency, Inc. organized the event.