Treece Voluntary Relocation Program
Bob Jurgens, Section Chief
Phone: (785) 296-1914 Fax: (785) 296-4823
1000 SW Jackson, Suite 410
Topeka, KS 66612-1367
Treece, Kansas, was a small community located in Cherokee County and was part of the Tar Creek mining area. This area was a heavy supplier of lead, zinc, and iron ore. This southeast Kansas town was located on the Oklahoma state line less than a mile north of the former community of Picher, Oklahoma, a town which has been closed due to contamination from past mining activities. Citizens of Picher were bought out and relocated over the last several years by the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, primarily using funds from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Citizens of Treece were also impacted by the same environment and signed a resolution on March 13, 2006, stating their interest to be included in the relocation efforts. The Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) and the EPA met with citizens of Treece in 2006 to discuss potential relocation efforts. During the 2007 Kansas legislative session, Senate Bill 2168 was enacted, forming a state public trust to facilitate relocation of the citizens in this community. Federal funding was allocated on October 29, 2009, and EPA provided $3.5 million to the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) to fund the buyout of qualified occupants in the affected area. KDHE provided $388,888 for their 10% match. The five-member Treece Relocation Assistance (TRA) Trust was appointed by Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson in early 2010 and along with the support of KDHE managed the relocation program.
The Trust officially disbanded on May 22, 2014.