Tar Creek is tributary of the Neosho/Grand River in Oklahoma and is a tributary to th Arkansas River. Tar Creek is the site of one of th largst Suprfund Sites in th U.S. Tar Creek is bordered by tall chat piles, which are mine tailings of smaller grained chert left over from ore processing for lead and zinc in the Tri-State District (Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. ). The piles can be as high as 200 ft. with lead levels as high 15,000 ppm. There are several mine water seeps, but one very large one, that contributes the equivalent of one Animas River spill every three days into the creek (since1979 when the mine water first surfaced). As a result, Tar Creek, from about 4 miles below the state line to the Neosho River, is a bright orange color. Much of this area is the Tar Creek Superfund area which is 47 square miles.
Rebecca Jim is the Tar Creekkeeper and has been the Executive Director and Vice President of LEAD (Local Environmental Action Demanded) Agency since 1997. She is also the founder of LEAD which strives for environmental justice for northeast Oklahoma. She has made finding ways to reclaim Tar Creek, restore the land and protect the health of the people her mission. Rebecca was also employed as an Indian Counselor for more than 27 years for the Miami Public Schools and the Sapulpa School District. She served as Faculty Advisor for the Cherokee Nation Learn and Serve Program at the Miami High School 10 years, bringing state and national recognition to the Miami Schools for the outstanding service learning project: the Tar Creek Project.
19289 S. 4403 Dr.
Vinita, Oklahoma 74301