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St. Louis-Based Doe Run Co. Being Investigated by Missouri Attorney General for Environmental Cleanup Efforts

Doe Run Co., a St. Louis-based corporation, is being investigated by the Missouri Attorney General’s office for its cleanup of mine tailings in St. Francois County. Residents of Leadwood, Missouri have complained about Doe Run’s efforts to clean up six piles of mine tailings as part of the Big River Mine Tailings/St. Joe Minerals Corp. Superfund project.

Most of the complaints concern the adequacy of Doe Run’s work in removing lead contaminated soil in the area as well as the company’s use of biosolids and sludge to promote vegetation growth on the cleaned soil. Biosolids are treated sewage sludge that can be used as fertilizer. For example, the company has recently deposited a collection of cow bones and ear tags on a person’s property to help begin vegetation growth on that property.

Residents of Leadwood have become so concerned with the cleanup process that they have contacted environmental activist Erin Brockovich, who has become well known for her activism since the 2000 movie bearing her name was released. Brockovich has since launched an investigation and sent Robert Bowcock, her head environmental investigator, to Leadwood on Monday to hold a community meeting. Bowcock told the community Monday that Doe Run’s clean-up efforts have actually worsened the contamination for the city, because through the clean up, Doe Run has exposed the residents to lead dust.

Doe Run’s cleanup work is being overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA officials have stated that they have approved the use of biosolids at both the Leadwood and Desloge, MO clean up sites. They also said that material from a portable toilet company is used at the Desloge pile and the primary source for the material at the Leadwood pile is the Rock Creek Sewer District in Jefferson County.

Schlichter, Bogard & Denton is currently representing the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Doe Run Co. for its alleged contamination of a town in Peru.

For more information, see the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article at:

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