Blackwell Uncovered
Blackwell Zinc Smelter

The Blackwell Zinc Co. Operated from 1916 to 1972.  The smelter was one of the largest at the time and operated using 14 furnaces to smelter the zinc ore.  The furnaces break the bonds in the ore to separate the metals into their pure forms and ready them for distribution.

The Operational History of the Blackwell Zinc Smelter
by the EPA Region 6 Office

1956 Blackwell Movie with Blackwell Zinc Footage

Zinc Smelter Timeline

September 16,1893
The Blackwell Township was formed

March 3, 1916
The City of Blackwell extends the boundaries of the City Limits to encompass the Northeast Quarter of the 21st Section, the future site of the Blackwell Zinc Co. on the corner of Hwy 11 and North 13th Street, Blackwell. Theodor E. Kaufold consented to annex. the land to the City.  The extension of the City Limits was done by
Ordinance 583.

March 18, 1916
Carl Vandever sold a portion of his land to the Bartlesville Zinc Co., the Southeast portion of the Northwest Quarter Section 21
Carl Vandever's Deeds

November 10, 1922
The Bartlesville Zinc Co. with a warrant deed sold the Northeast Quarter of section 21 to the Blackwell Zinc Co.  Bartlesville Zinc Co. also transferred the permitted Northwest and Southwest Quarters of section 21 to Blackwell Zinc Co. See Bartlesville Zinc Co. Warrant Deed

The Blackwell Zinc Co. started to refine high cadmium ore from Africa.

Zinc Sulfate liquor pond developed a crack and was repaired.

June 17,1969
The Blackwell Industrial Authority was formed by the City of Blackwell as indicated in it Trust Indenture. The BIA Trust Indenture.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board drilled 17 monitoring wells to keep an eye on the ground water contamination that could be the result of the crack in the Zinc Sulfate Liquor Pond and the water run off from the Smelter Site.

August 1972
The Blackwell Zinc Co. stops its operations and closes its doors.

December 17, 1974
A warrant Deed was filed between the Blackwell Zinc Co. and the Trustees of the Blackwell Industrial Authority for the Northeast Quarter of Section 21.
See Blackwell Zinc Co. Warrant Deed to Trustees of BIA.

September 1975
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board "approved" an inactive landfill on the Southwest Quarter of the Northeast Quarter.

December 2, 1976
The Blackwell Industrial Development Authority Indenture was filed with the State of Oklahoma.

February 27, 1979
The Blackwell Industrial Authority filed its Indenture with the State of Oklahoma.

April 28, 1980
The Blackwell Industrial Development Authority began to sell pieces of the Northeast Quarter Section 21 to the BIA. See BIDA Warrant Deeds to BIA.

June 1981
The Environmental Protection Agency was first notified about an inactive landfill, but no action was taken.  See 1st EPA Notice.

May 1989
The Environmental Protection Agency discovered that the City of Blackwell failed its NPDES Test.  They also found that the City's sewer lines were laden with cadmium and zinc.  See 2nd EPA Notice.

February 19, 1991
The EPA hired ICF Technology Inc. to conduct the "Screening Site Inspection". They filed their report afterward.  See Report from Screening Site Inspection.

October 9, 1992
The EPA conducted the Expanded Site Inpection Report.

May 18, 1992
The EPA Scored the Blackwell Zinc Superfund Site as a 70.71 on the HRS Package.
HRS Memorandum
The HRS Package

The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality was established.

April 19, 1994
The EPA agreed to allow the ODEQ to supervise and conduct the clean up of the Blackwell Zinc Site.  They did this with the Memorandum of Understanding.

April 4, 1996
The ODEQ publishes the Record of Decision for the Blackwell Zinc Superfund Site.

For More information Cheek Out read this Newspaper article from 1993.-----> 1993 Blackwell Journal Tribune Newspaper.

Ariel Photos of Zinc Smelter During Operation

August 25, 1954

May 27, 1961

November 11, 1966

April 10, 1973

The BIA Currently Owns much of the Zinc Smelter Site, now called the Blackwell Industrial Park.

Current Tax Records of the BIP

The City of Blackwell's attempt to Settle with Phelps Dodge

The City of Blackwell was trying to settle with Phelps Dodge in 2006.  No one knew because the City and it's entities were trying to hide the settlement with excessive use of the Executive Session Clause of the Open Meetings Act. It was only by accident that the Settlement Agreement and a copy of the Institutional Controls fell into our hands.  Dale Dewitt went to the ODEQ and stopped the settlement saying that it was illegal to place the burden on the citizens of Blackwell.

2006 Settlement Agreement

Institutional Controls

The City of Blackwell was also getting reimbursed by Phelps Dodge for attorneys and Engineers that the City had to hire as a result of the Smelter clean-up.

Monitoring Well Program

Cost Reimbursement Agreement

2008 Sewer Report
Contaminated Sewer Repair Cost

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