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Anyone driving west on Main Street can see a marked difference thanks to over a year of work cleaning up the Henryetta Iron and Metal property.
Within the past few weeks, the remaining trucks and equipment involved in the cleanup have been removed and all that remains is white coarse rocks, concrete barriers and new fencing.clean yard
Gone are the rusted derelict trucks and vehicles along with the piles of debris, used tires and contaminated soil.
All told, over 18,243 tons of contaminated materials were removed. They were taken to specially permitted facilities elsewhere in Oklahoma as well as Texas.
In addition to removing the trash and debris on the site itself, cleanup crews tested several areas of the creek running through the property and south to Moore Street. When contaminated sites were found, that soil and rock was removed. Small earthen and rock berms were built across the creek to hold back water and let new sediment fill in the spots.
junk yard 2021Contaminates found at the site included Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), Antimony, Arsenic, Cadmium, Copper, Lead, Mercury, Benzidine, Benzo(a)pyrene, and Radium-226.
Now that it is cleaned up, the property, over two acres on each side of Main Street, reverts back to the owners.
According to Joe Robledo, press officer for the Region 6 EPA office, the owners gave cleanup crews permission to remove all of the buildings on the site except the large shed sitting next to the creek.
The property is owned by Brandy and Sherman Hickerson from Broken Bow. An attempt has been made to contact them asking about their plans going ahead after the cleanup but they have not responded. They were also asked if there had been any thoughts about selling the land. Again, no response.
Robledo said regardless of any operations going forward, property owners will have to comply with applicable local, state and federal laws and regulations, including any restrictions that may be necessary to protect the final remedy for the site.
He said some $5 million was spent in the cleanup effort and that could ultimately be billed back to the property owners as well as past owners and anyone who arranged for the disposal, transport or treatment of hazardous substances found at the site.
Henryetta Iron and Metal was put on the EPA superfund national proprieties list Oct. 30, 2019. Complaints about the problem were filed in 2003. At that time testing showed there was contamination and a fine issued to the property owner.
In 2010, eight drums consisting of material that included radium-226 were removed.
Seven years later testing was done along the creek then in 2018 the EPA conducted a residential cleanup action on three residential properties, rights of ways and an alley.