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Collinsville, Oklahoma
October 11, 2007
Smelter Site DEQ Test Results
Two Collinsville Smelters Operated From 1911 into the Mid-1920s
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Ted Wright -- last update 10/13/2007 (SmelterDEQresults.html)

Copyright 2007 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma

One of the two former Collinsville zinc smelter sites has been a low priority EPA Superfund site since 1999. Collinsville citizens finally had an opportunity (Oct. 11th, 2007 at an underpublized public meeting at City Hall) to hear results of environmental testing on and near that site. The tests were conducted by the Oklahoma Department of Environemtal Quality (DEQ) in 2005 and 2006. The EPA site is now referred to as the "Tulsa Fuel and Manfacturing" site and is approximately 1.3 miles south of downtown Collinsville on the west side of the railroad tracks. The other smelter site (referred to as "Collinsville Smelter") which is east of the tracks and south of 136th St. North is not a part of the EPA Superfund as a "responsible party" (Phelps-Dodge) will be required to fund the cleanup there.

Ted Wright's Quick Summary: If you don't live on the smelter sites or have substantial material on your property that came from the sites, you have very little if anything to worry about. More tests will be done. If you want your property tested or know the location of smelter related material off-site please contact DEQ ( or Shaw Environmental (

The tests conducted on the 60-acre "Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing" site found obviously high levels of zinc, lead, arsenic and cadmium metals in the soil. Some of the off-site test also showed elevated levels of hazardous metals but they were at sites where obvious smelter slag or retort (connies) had been relocated for retaining walls or driveway material, etc. Ore was shipped into the Collinsville smelters via rail cars from all over the world while the smelters were in operation (from 1911 to the mid-1920s).

Along with the soil, samples of air, water, fish, blackberrys were collected and tested for any hazards to humans or animals. The fish tissue test were conducted in 1999 and no fish were found in the ponds but the 7 catfish from the strip mine pit showed no unacceptable levels of risk. The other tests were from 2005 and 2006. 7-day test data showed no evidence of an aerial plume carrying hazardous material to offsite locations. The air sampling was performed to determine if the waste material was capable of moving off-site via air/wind movement. DEQ's consultant also did shallow soil sampling to investigate the possibility of a historic aerial plume originating from the site. The black berries tested along the railway showed some signs of higher than normal metal contamination but it was apparently in the dust on the exterior of the berries as the berries tested OK once they were washed. The well water onsite was deemed unacceptable for drinking with zinc and cadmium contamination. Surface water tested OK except for sediment at the bottom. No unacceptable levels of metals were detected in any of the offsite water tests.

The cleanup plan has yet to be designed but options include onsite capping & containment/managened land use or removal of hazardous material to be an approved landfill site (with a rough estimate of $35 million removal cost). Once the cleanup plan is released (at a yet unannounced public meeting) the public will have 30 days to respond.

Note: I am not an expert and am merely reporting the DEQ's information presented. It was first noted that any human faces environmental risks no matter where they live on this earth. The only specific risk mentioned was cancer with the EPA policy on levels of risk requiring "management" at 1 in 10,000.
-- Ted Wright -- -- 10/13/2007

The Collinsville smelter site is still very early in the superfund process and any cleanup is still likely years away.
This retaining wall in the ditch near 12th and Maple was cited as am example of off-site smelter material that the DEQ located just by driving around looking. They request help from the public in locating smelter material that is less visible.
Several local residents and DEQ /contractors met at Collinsville City Hall Oct. 11th. Another public meeting will be held after cleanup plans have been designed and released to the public. Some of the existing documents are to be available to the public at the Collinsville Library.