Tar Creek’s ‘Bird Dog’ property may be the future site of a solar farm

EPA states it's perfect for solar power generation

Since 2014, Quapaw Nation has performed a number of remediation projects at the Tar Creek Superfund site using grants from the Environmental Protection Agency.

As of recent, the EPA awarded Quapaw Nation, a $9,000,000 grant, for cleanup efforts at a specific Tar Creek area, known as Bird Dog.

“They funded project by project, and this is the next big project that they’ll be funding. It’s the Bird Dog remediation site, and we just received funding to start clean up at this site” said Quapaw Nation, Environmental Director, Tim Kent.

The Bird Dog site currently has more than 500,000 tons of zinc and lead mining waste, that is piled high in what is called ‘chat’. But the sites future is looking greater than just a cleanup, according to an EPA ‘reuse assessment study’.

“What we’re hoping to do is when we haul off all the chat and remediate the site is to install solar panels here and create a solar farm” added Kent.

A release from Quapaw Nation stated that the Grand River Dam Authority has expressed interest in developing the solar farm project.

“For the past 80 years, the landowners haven’t been able to use this property. Now if a solar farm is built here they will get a steady stream of income, plus it’ll be a sustainable energy project that will contribute to providing energy to business and commerce in this area” said Kent.

As of right now, funding for the potential solar farm in this area would come directly from the solar company, according to Kent.

“The tribe at this point is not financing any part of that, it’s the solar development company. If the solar development company can negotiate a good deal with the landowners to start this, then we’re all for it.”

The project is still in the developmental stages and Kent says it will likely be a couple years before the solar farm is constructed. But he says they’re optimistic about the outcome.

“Sustainable energy projects is perfect for reuse and the EPA likes that, the tribe likes that, it’s just a win-win for everybody.”

The next steps for this are to start the cleanup efforts with the recent grant money. Cleanup efforts are expected to begin this month.

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