The Picher area became the most productive lead-zinc mining field in the Tri-State district producing over $20 billion worth of ore between 1917 and 1947. More than fifty percent of the lead and zinc metal used during World War I were produced by the Picher district. At its peak over 14,000 miners worked the mines and another 4,000 worked in mining services.
Many of these workers commuted by an extensive trolley system from as far away as Joplin and Carthage, Missouri. Mining ceased in 1967 and water pumping from the mines ceased..
The town faded as ore began to run out… but the biggest problem was while the ore and zinc made them wealthy… the pollution was destroying the town. Over time not enough or even nothing was being done to deal with the pollutants. And it became a toxic wasteland.
The contaminated water from some 14,000 abandoned mine shafts, 70 million tons of mine tailings, and 36 million tons of mill sand and sludge remained as a huge environmental cleanup problem. The area became part of the Tar Creek Superfund site
What happened to this entire city becomes the backdrop for our discussion from James regarding sin.
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