EPA, State Partners Celebrate New Health Clinic in Henryetta, OK
DALLAS – (Oct. 26, 2018) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) and the city of Henryetta, Okla., in celebrating the opening of the East Central Oklahoma (ECO) Family Health Center. The facility marks the beneficial reuse of the former Eagle-Picher zinc smelter in Henryetta.
“EPA, ODEQ, and the city of Henryetta have worked for many years to transform this site from a burden on the community into an asset for the whole region,” said Regional Administrator Anne Idsal. “Because of these efforts, today we can celebrate yet another formerly contaminated property being brought back into economic use, with the people of Henryetta and surrounding communities benefitting for years to come.”
“Prior to becoming ODEQ’s Executive Director, I spent a few years working to initiate the cleanup of this former smelter site. I am excited to have witnessed firsthand this site’s successful transformation,” said ODEQ Executive Director Scott Thompson. “The restoration and redevelopment of this property has turned it into an asset for Henryetta and the surrounding communities, and all of us at ODEQ are proud of what has been accomplished.”
“During the Health Infrastructure Investment Program grant application process, ECO Family Health Center was able to coordinate with the City of Henryetta, EPA and ODEQ to meet the needs of the community in a location that at one time was unusable,” said ECO Family Health Center CEO Donna Dyer. “The former Eagle-Picher zinc smelter site in Henryetta was the perfect location to provide medical, dental and behavioral health services to Okmulgee County.”
The Eagle-Picher Mining and Smelting company donated the smelter property to the city of Henryetta in 1974. Unaware of metals contamination in the waste piles, the city used soil from the site as fill material at neighborhoods, schools and parks across the community. EPA partnered with ODEQ for the extensive cleanup, making sure the final remedy was compatible with the community’s goals for reusing the formerly contaminated areas. The new health center is the latest component of these reuse plans, which already produced the Shurden Leist Industrial Park.
The community health center will provide primary health, dental health and behavioral health care services. EPA participated in community information sessions and issued a Ready for Reuse Determination to support community efforts to leverage resources for the clinic. In May 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the project a $1 million grant.
Today, officials from EPA, ODEQ, the city of Henryetta and other partner organizations participated in a ceremony to mark the opening of the clinic. EPA strongly supports reuse of formerly contaminated sites and believes it is an important part of the cleanup process. Many communities, developers, site owners, and local governments and organizations have worked closely with EPA to enhance cleanup, promote long-term stewardship, and provide economic, environmental and social benefits to communities.
For more about EPA’s work in Oklahoma: https://www.epa.gov/ok
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