Picher, Oklahoma is located in the middle of the "Tar Creek Superfund" site. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Picher, Oklahoma is located in the middle of the "Tar Creek Superfund" site.
The area was labeled by the EPA as the most toxic town in the United States. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The area was labeled by the EPA as the most toxic town in the United States.
The site is one of a few places on earth considered uninhabitable.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The site is one of a few places on earth considered uninhabitable.
The Tar Creek site covers 40 square miles of fenced off land. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The Tar Creek site covers 40 square miles of fenced off land.
In the early days of mining,  the area was a boomtown. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
In the early days of mining, the area was a boomtown.
Over the next 50 years, millions of tons of lead and zinc were extracted from the area.The metals provided raw materials for bullets in World War I and II.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Over the next 50 years, millions of tons of lead and zinc were extracted from the area.The metals provided raw materials for bullets in World War I and II.
Picher is a town left behind by industry. It enlisted to win the war, but lost its own battle for survival. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Picher is a town left behind by industry. It enlisted to win the war, but lost its own battle for survival.
More than 200 mills sifted millions of pounds of ore a day. For every one ton of ore, there were 16 tons of waste produced.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
More than 200 mills sifted millions of pounds of ore a day. For every one ton of ore, there were 16 tons of waste produced.
The federal government has spent more than $300 million to clear the site.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The federal government has spent more than $300 million to clear the site.
The Quapaw tribe was awarded a $5 million contract to clean the land.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The Quapaw tribe was awarded a $5 million contract to clean the land.
With more than $300 million spent to reclaim the area, officials believe it will take. at least, another 30 years to clean their tribal land.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
With more than $300 million spent to reclaim the area, officials believe it will take. at least, another 30 years to clean their tribal land.
In the early 2000s, large areas around the site began to cave in.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
In the early 2000s, large areas around the site began to cave in.
When the mines closed, operations that made the area safe, stopped also.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
When the mines closed, operations that made the area safe, stopped also.
Pumps that drained water from the mines were, also, shut down. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Pumps that drained water from the mines were, also, shut down.
Surface and ground water filled the old mining shafts and tunnels. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Surface and ground water filled the old mining shafts and tunnels.
An Indian woman says simply, "Earth is the best place we have to put our feet".  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
An Indian woman says simply, "Earth is the best place we have to put our feet".
Mike Champlin displays a photo of old miners, including his grandparents. He said "they did not live long working in the mines". : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Mike Champlin displays a photo of old miners, including his grandparents. He said "they did not live long working in the mines".
Mary Garrette said, "My husband was only three years old, when his father was killed in a mine. He was a "powder monkey".  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Mary Garrette said, "My husband was only three years old, when his father was killed in a mine. He was a "powder monkey".
Local officials were slow to realize the health risks the chat piles were causing. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Local officials were slow to realize the health risks the chat piles were causing.
The chat piles are for the most part unfenced and have been used for recreation and play for years.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The chat piles are for the most part unfenced and have been used for recreation and play for years.
The contamination has had dire effects on locals.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The contamination has had dire effects on locals.
The chat piles were poisonous to young children's development.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The chat piles were poisonous to young children's development.
The local children were found to have learning problems and chronic illness. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The local children were found to have learning problems and chronic illness.
Tar Creek turned red in the 1970s from the heavy metal runoff coming from the old mines. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Tar Creek turned red in the 1970s from the heavy metal runoff coming from the old mines.
Rebecca Jim, who founded an environmental  group, reports that Tar Creek is too toxic for fish to survive in. She said "we must learn to do better". : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Rebecca Jim, who founded an environmental group, reports that Tar Creek is too toxic for fish to survive in. She said "we must learn to do better".
In a 2006 study, officials found that 90% of the buildings could suddenly collapse.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
In a 2006 study, officials found that 90% of the buildings could suddenly collapse.
Even after the yards were scrapped, chemicals were still found in the soil. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Even after the yards were scrapped, chemicals were still found in the soil.
The government started a buy-out program to get residents to move out of the area. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The government started a buy-out program to get residents to move out of the area.
The area became a ghost town. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
The area became a ghost town.
A killer tornado forced the last residents out of the area.  : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
A killer tornado forced the last residents out of the area.
Miami, Oklahoma, the nearby town, has three dialysis centers. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Miami, Oklahoma, the nearby town, has three dialysis centers.
Jill Micka, now, has stage 4 kidney failure. : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
Jill Micka, now, has stage 4 kidney failure.
She does not know the cause of her kidney failure since she is not qualified for lead poisoning test : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
She does not know the cause of her kidney failure since she is not qualified for lead poisoning test
One government official reported the only thing polluted is the "earth, wind and water" : The Tar Creek Sessions : Oklahoma City Editorial and Documentary Photographer
One government official reported the only thing polluted is the "earth, wind and water"