A Town, a Flood, and Superfund: Looking Back at the Times Beach Disaster Nearly 40 Years Later

The EPA looks at Times Beach nearly 40 years later. “This town, Times Beach, Missouri, was the site of one of the worst environmental disasters in our nation’s history. Nearly 40 years ago, an individual was paid to spray material on the roads to suppress the dust in this small Midwest town. What the town didn’t know was that he was spraying those roads with a mixture of the highly toxic chemical compound, dioxin, and waste oil. When the town was inundated by a terrible flood in December 1982, that toxic mix spread beyond the roads and covered the town. As part of EPA’s 50th anniversary commemoration, we look back on the events surrounding the Times Beach disaster. Over its 50-year history, EPA’s enforcement and compliance work has played an integral and crucial role in protecting human health and the environment. The Times Beach tragedy was one of several like it at the time and helped spur the creation of the Superfund law, paving the way for countless cleanup and remediation actions at sites across the country.Full Article Here St. Louis NPR Also Reports Here. “On this date, June 26, 1997, one of America’s greatest triumphs over environmental disaster came to an end,’’ reads the inscription. “In the preceding 16 months, beginning March 17, 1996, over 265,374 tons of dioxin contaminated soil from 25 different sites in eastern Missouri were safely destroyed by high temperature incineration. On July 2, 1997, Times Beach was designated a new state park for the people of Missouri.”