STONE BLUFF — Environmental regulators cleared the way Monday for the reuse of a former hazardous waste site in Wagoner County where a 1997 chemical explosion killed a man.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality issued a certificate to county commissioners Monday deeming the 19-acre site in Stone Bluff, about 30 miles south of Tulsa, ready for reuse.
“This is a good example of DEQ and EPA’s commitment to turning contaminated property back into productive use,” Scott Thompson, the director of the DEQ’s land protection division, told the Tulsa World .
Thompson said the land is now safe for both humans and to the environment.
A solvent-recycling plant was being operated on the property by Chief Supply Co. when a mixture of chemicals exploded on March 26, 1997, starting a fire that burned for three days.
Ronnie Davis, a 24-year-old Haskell resident, suffered fatal burns in the blast and another man was injured.
The plant was later taken over by another company and has been closed since 2000.
The property is the site of a former hazardous waste treatment, storage and recycling facility that was operated by various companies from 1978 to June 2000. After operations ceased, unsecured hazardous waste remained on the premises.
The DEQ and EPA then began removing the hazardous wastes and to remediate the facility. Upon completion of the cleanup efforts and monitoring of ground water and soils, the DEQ and EPA have made the determination that the site can be reused.
EPA Associate Director Susan Spalding said the cleanup will help the area.