Tar Creek Superfund Site Remediation: Combined Roles for Biomass, Poultry Litter, Fly Ash and Flu Gas Desulfurization Residues

EPA Grant Number: SU831866
Title: Tar Creek Superfund Site Remediation: Combined Roles for Biomass, Poultry Litter, Fly Ash and Flu Gas Desulfurization Residues
Investigators: Potter, William , Roberts, Ken , Settle, Chad , Tapp, Bryan
Current Investigators: Potter, William , Grayson, Britney , Hitt, Kristi , Iski, Erin , Moskal, Mark , Roberts, Ken , Settle, Chad , Tapp, Bryan , Williamson, Kenny
Institution: University of Tulsa
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Ecosystems , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The Tar Creek Superfund site in Northeastern Oklahoma is a large area contaminated from 100 years of lead and zinc mining. In this proposal we focus on developing surface coverage and remediation methods for the 45 million cubic yards of mine tailings, known as chat. The chat has elevated levels of mineral sulfides which, when oxidized, promote runoff conditions with elevated levels of lead, cadmium and zinc. Water runoff and airborne dust blown from the chat gives rise to a persistent, slow release of toxic metals into The Grand Lake of the Cherokee's Watershed and contribute to both health and economic problems in the predominantly American Indian population living near the area.

Our student design challenge promotes cost effective remediation methods to restore the productivity and value of the land. The design is based on using municipal biosolid sludge with agricultural and coal combustion products waste to immobilize toxic metals in situ and regenerate the soil profile. The design involves mixing municipal biosolids/sludge with the high lignin agricultural waste product litter obtained from poultry confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The use of litter in the Tar Creek site removes an eutrophication burden from the adjacent watershed containing Lakes Eucha and Spavinaw, lakes which are the City of Tulsa's drinking water lakes. The shift in litter burden should help immobilize metals in the Tar Creek area while reducing algal blooms related to excessive phosphates in the adjacent City of Tulsa's drinking water lakes area. The biomass is to be adjusted and enhanced for in situ metal stabilization using coal combustion products (CCPs). The CCPs are produced locally at Shady Creek Power Plant, an Oklahoma-coal (high sulfur content) facility. The combustion byproducts include fly ash and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) residues (i.e., gypsum compounds). The project is designed to be tested on pilot scale lysimeters under open field conditions with: 1) analyses of metals, nutrients and other pollutants in runoff; 2) the analyses of soil profiles; and 3) evaluation of overall vegetation viability. The project is a student group project from courses in Geosciences, Analytical Chemistry, Environmental Chemistry and Environmental Economics. Pedagogically, the project is taught as if the student groups are local consulting firms and have to contract out with specific specialties to determine the best methods of remediation, site characterization, analytical techniques, and economic basis for different remediation procedures.

Supplemental Keywords:

air, watersheds, groundwater, land, soil, sediments, leachate, chemical transport, exposure, risk, population, susceptibility, cumulative effects, toxics, particulates, ODS, heavy metals, sulfates, effluent, ecosystem, restoration, alternatives, sustainable development, innovative technology, remediation, cleanup, cost benefit, public good, environmental chemistry, geology, analytical, south central, Oklahoma (OK),, Scientific Discipline, Waste, Remediation, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Engineering, flue gas desulferization, lead, fly ash, remediation technologies, biomass, Zinc, poultry litter, Tar Creek Superfund Site

Relevant Websites:

Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report