Archive for Friday, September 28, 2012

Ex-residents say goodbye to Treece

September 28, 2012


TREECE — Former residents of a southeast Kansas mining town have said their final farewell, marking the end to a buyout that began in 2009 after the town was deemed to be unsafe because of decades of residual lead and zinc waste.

In the last two years, residents have left Treece after receiving buyouts from the Environmental Protection Agency. The town has been removed from the state map after being disincorporated by the state Legislature earlier this year.

The Wichita Eagle reported Thursday’s ceremony was part municipal funeral and part celebration.

“I just want to congratulate everyone that had a deal in this buyout, that it went as smoothly as it did and as expediently as it did,” said Bill Blunk, the last mayor of Treece. “Once we found that it was deemed unsafe, the ball started rolling and it didn’t stop until it was finished.”

Millions of tons of lead and zinc mining waste surround the Treece townsite, and sinkholes and uncapped mineshafts are filled with contaminated water. Treece and nearby Picher, Okla., produced much of the lead that was used for bullets for WWI and WWII.

The final cost of the Treece buyout is expected to be about $3.6 million, said Bob Jurgens, chief of assessment and restoration for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Jurgens, the project manager, said the government bought out 66 families’ homes and relocated 12 renters.


donttreadonme 1 year, 6 months ago

Pure capitalism at work. Suck all of the resources from an area, while investing nothing in cleanup or restoration. Go bankrupt or move on to the locale, repeat.


Brock Masters 1 year, 6 months ago

I just don't understand why we have to pay for other people's poor choices? Why did we have to pay the people of Treece for their homes? No one forced them to move there in the first place and yes, it sucks that they moved into such a polluted area, but why is that my fault?


OonlyBonly 1 year, 6 months ago

It's a shame to lose an entire town so unceremoniously. RIP Treece.


gccs14r 1 year, 6 months ago

I never understood why they didn't push the tailings back into the mines. That would have reduced the incidence of sinkholes and would have slowed down the leaching of toxins.


riverdrifter 1 year, 6 months ago

I think there is one hold-out resident left in Treece but not sure. Outside of the statehouse in Topeka, if you were going to give Kansas an enema Treece is where the tube would go in.


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