EPA: Tar Creek still unsafe for swimming in Miami – Joplin Globe

Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. Low 36F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%..
Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. Low 36F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Updated: December 4, 2023 @ 10:55 pm

MIAMI, Okla. — The water of Tar Creek may have lost the orange tint it had when the creek was the poster child for manmade environmental disasters, but that doesn’t mean it is safe to swim in.
While environmental advocates have been issuing warnings about the creek for some time, the Environmental Protection Agency is now declaring that the stream still holds hazardous heavy metal pollution from its mining legacy and is recommending that it not be used for swimming or fishing. 
“Until now, EPA has never told them not to” swim in the creek, said Rebecca Jim, executive director of LEAD Agency. LEAD stands for Local Environmental Action Demanded. “Now, we finally have an answer: Tar Creek is still not safe for people.”
“It is running right through town, and it looks nice,” she said. “It looks pretty, and kids are reclaiming it because there have been no warning signs except the ones we’ve put up through the years.”
The signs her group put up were ignored and removed, she said. 
That’s why LEAD and the Environmental Protection Agency are hosting a meeting, slated for 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Miami Civic Center, 129 Fifth Ave. NW in Miami, to get the word out.
“When it turned orange, people said that’s caution, orange is caution,” Jim said. “I’ve seen kids swimming and diving and going under water, going through culverts and swimming around, reclaiming this stream. We want it to be there for them, but we don’t think it’s ready yet, and this report tells that. Finally, the EPA comes out and really tells the story.”
Jim said the meeting is being held to allow the EPA to present results of a study it did on testing it conducted on the stream in 2022. The surface water, sediment and riverbank soil were tested for lead and other heavy metals.
The EPA’s Technical Assistance Services for Communities program will present the findings and will be available to answer questions. The program provides independent assistance to help communities better understand the science, regulations and policies of environmental issues and EPA actions, according to the federal agency. LEAD Agency has been partnering with the program for more than a decade.
The program will be presented in a hybrid format for people to attend in person or virtually using Microsoft Teams.
To call into the meeting and hear the meeting by audio only, call 1-833-676-8347. The conference ID number 408 365 999#.
For more details on the meeting, people can call the LEAD Agency at 918-542-9399 or email info@leadagency.org.
MIAMI, Okla. — During the 25th annual Tar Creek Conference last week, Local Environmental Action Demanded, or LEAD Agency, celebrated a histor…
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