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Mo. Atty. Gen. Koster reaches settlement with Doe Run for lead cleanup

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a consent decree to address environmental violations at Doe Run’s Sweetwater Mine and Mill in Reynolds County.

Here's a map detailing the approximate location of the mine near Ellington, Mo.:

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The decree describes the actions Doe Run must take to clean up and contain lead contamination. It also requires the company to pay $80,000.

“This agreement sets out a series of steps to help assure Doe Run protects the environment from lead contamination at the Sweetwater mine,” Koster said. “Preventing lead contamination is critical not only to the environment, but to the health of rural Missouri residents who live near mines, mills, and smelters.”

The consent decree addresses a 450-acre waste pile at Sweetwater. Doe Run has agreed to immediately implement a wind erosion plan to keep material from blowing off-site. Once mining ends at the site, the company has agreed to cover the mine waste with dirt and native plants in order to prevent future erosion.

The settlement also requires Doe Run to:

•         upgrade a sewage lagoon;

•         implement a cleanup of soil contamination;

•         assess pollution in Sweetwater Creek;

•         develop a program to improve compliance and staff training;

•         pay the state about $45,000 for litigation costs and oversight of work at the Sweetwater mine; and

•         fund $35,000 in environmental education projects for K-12 students.

Koster says he appreciates the work of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources in reviewing and commenting on the technical environmental aspects of the decree.

This consent decree expands the work at Sweetwater beyond what is required in the state’s December 2011 settlement with Doe Run.  In the earlier settlement, which was filed jointly with the federal government, Doe Run agreed to spend $65 million to clean up ten of its lead mining, milling, and smelting facilities in Southeast Missouri, including Sweetwater. That settlement also included a $7 million civil penalty.