Route 66 State Park in Eureka Cleared by EPA Officials
EPA Findings: "Soil samples from Route 66 State Park show no significant health risks for park visitors or workers."
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 7 officials on Monday declared Route 66 State Park in Eureka safe for visitors and workers after a dioxin soil sampling project initiated this summer. The park is property of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. DNR representatives requested soil sampling during June to apply new sciences to test for traces of dioxin in the soil.
See related articles published in June by Eureka-Wildwood Patch:
Results from a new soil sampling technique called "dioxin toxicity criterion," finalized in February 2012, revealed no significant health risks since the cleanup of the park in the 1990s. “This is good news for the thousands of people who visit Route 66 State Park each year, and good news for the state employees and others who earn their living there,” EPA Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks said.
Samples were collected from surface soils from various locations in the park, including trails, shelters, picnic areas, the playground, the proposed location for an off-leash dog park, underground utility line installation areas, former roadways and residential lots, and two outfalls near the Meramec River.
Brooks said EPA experts considered several factors in their conclusion, including the frequency and duration visitors and workers spend in the park.
EPA experts concluded a dioxin level of 640 parts per trillion (ppt) is safe for park visitors while a level of 660 ppt is safe for park workers.
Health experts from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry agree with the conclusions made by EPA, according to EPA's Monday announcement.
Route 66 State Park was established in 1999, at the former site of Times Beach. Waste oil—containing high levels of dioxin—was sprayed on the streets of Times Beach to try to control dust, which led to dioxin contamination. In a response to contamination, EPA and DNR representatives had soil containing dioxin at a level of 1,000 ppt excavated and replaced with clean soil.
Dioxins are a family of structurally similar toxic chemicals. Most dioxins are not intentionally produced, but rather are byproducts of chemical processing or burning, according to industry experts.