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.


riverdrifter 5 years, 3 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.

gccs14r 5 years, 3 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.

John Hamm 5 years, 3 months ago

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

Brock Masters 5 years, 3 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?

chootspa 5 years, 3 months ago

So it's the fault of the people who lived there and not the mines that made it polluted in the first place? That's some screwed up victim blaming right there.

Brock Masters 5 years, 3 months ago

Yes, it is the mine fault for polluting the land and water, but the people made the choice to buy the homes near the mines. I'm not blaming the residents for anything, but asking why I have to pay to buy them out?

If I buy a house and it turns out to be a bad investment will you buy it and give me the money so I can relocate somewhere else?

Lots of people make bad home purchasing decisions but what makes it okay to buy these people out but not others?

The mining companies are responsible, not the taxpayer.

grammarrodeo 5 years, 3 months ago

I doubt Commonwealth-Northern Mining Company or Lawyers Mining Company are still around to recoup the money from. 1925 was a long time ago. Folks weren't exactly enlightened on the harmful effects of many toxins back then.

RogueThrill 5 years, 3 months ago

Treece is a Superfund site, so the money used to clean it up isn't (usually) coming from your taxes.

Normally a Superfund site would be paid for in part by the company responsible for the pollution. Those companies no longer exist, so the the funds for this project come from chemical and petrochemical company taxes.

A portion of the Tri-State Mining District Cleanup fund came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, so it's likely some of your tax dollars were used in this case. Wisely, I might add.

And the reason your tax dollars sometimes get used to clean up places like Treece or Love Canal or times Beach is because being environmentally responsible is expensive and companies are only concerned with making a buck. So we get to choose between our country having giant toxic waste dumps all over the place or having to sometimes dip into the public coffers to clean up the mess.

In America the only acceptable socialism is that granted to private enterprise; privatized profits and socialized costs.

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