MIAMI, OK — The communities of Picher and Cardin, the bedrocks of the Tar Creek area, have officially been dissolved as incorporated municipalities, almost three years after the towns were demolished following a federally funded buyout.
“We didn't know it was going to take this long,” said Ben Loring, Ottawa County assistant district attorney.
The state filed the petition Feb. 10, 2010, and the order to dissolve was signed Nov. 26, court records show.
The lead- and zinc-contaminated land in the 40-square-mile area of northern Ottawa County is known as Tar Creek. For years, the area was at the top of the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund list after mining companies pulled out, leaving countless environmental and medical problems.
A 2006 study by the Army Corps of Engineers showed that the abandoned lead and zinc mines underneath Picher and the nearby communities of Cardin and Hockerville had a high risk of caving in.
After the last residence was bought out and the last structure demolished, the tab for the federally funded buyout hit $44.8 million, government officials said.
The relocation plan involved 878 buyout offers, records show.