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Doe Run to pay $65 million for clean up of Missouri lead sites

Doe Run lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo.
(Photo: UPI)
Doe Run lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo.

By Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio/AP

St. Louis, MO – The Doe Run Company has agreed to spend $65 million to clean up ten of its lead mining, milling, and smelting facilities in Southeast Missouri.

North America's largest lead producer also plans to close its Herculaneum smelter by the end of 2013, three years ahead of schedule.

Doe Run Chief Operating Officer Jerry Pyatt says the decision to close the smelter was driven by the recent tightening of federal air quality standards for lead and sulfur.

"In looking at the process that we currently use at Herculaneum, it simply isn't economically viable to make the investments that would be required to put controls on that technology that would allow it to meet these new standards."

As part of the settlement, Doe Run will also pay a $7 million civil penalty for the violation of a number of state and federal environmental laws.

In past years the EPA has cited the company for air pollution, elevated blood lead levels in children, elevated lead levels in yards, and lead dust in homes.

Doe Run has bought out 130 residential properties near the Herculaneum smelter since 2002 in response to contamination problems.