The Environmental Protection Agency and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality on Wednesday recognized the Tulsa Fuel and Manufacturing Superfund site in Collinsville with EPA’s Greenovations award.
The recognition honors Superfund site partners in EPA Region 6 that have shown outstanding efforts in site reuse that emphasize sustainability, green remediation and alternative and renewable energy use.
Collinsville’s former zinc smelter was placed on the National Priorities List of contaminated sites in 1999, and following extensive cleanup and monitoring, now hosts bee colonies for local honey companies.
EPA and ODEQ officials visited the site on Wednesday during a ceremony to commemorate locals’ efforts to transform the property over the last two decades.
“ODEQ is incredibly proud of the work done at the former Tulsa Fuels and Manufacturing site,” said ODEQ Executive Director Scott Thompson. “The efforts of our staff and our partners have transformed this once-contaminated land into a green pasture that is home to honeybees and other wildlife. Successful Superfund projects such as this are vital to Oklahoma’s future.”
Cleanup included consolidating 186,000 cubic yards of smelter wastes and contaminated soil and sediment into a 10-acre capped containment cell. The restored cap was replanted with a mix of native grasses and clover, an ideal habitat for honeybees.
Today, the Shadow Mountain Honey Company, in partnership with Ide’s Gary Avenue Gold Honey, uses the site to house about 30 hives – all rescued and relocated from places where the swarms presented a nuisance and would have otherwise been exterminated. The companies plan to use the site to relocate more swarms in the future, helping to sustain the area’s pollinator population.
EPA presented awards to James and Courtney Deming, owners of Shadow Mountain Honey Company; Jay Ide, owner of Ide’s Gary Avenue Gold Honey; the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; Hal Cantwell and Michael Lea of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality; and Bob Beauchamp, current landowner of the site.
Wednesday’s event was held as part of the 20th anniversary of EPA’s Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, launched in 1999 with the goal of returning formerly contaminated lands to long-term sustainable and productive reuse for communities across the country.