Enforcement

Case Summary: EPA Funded Sites and Communities in the ASARCO Bankruptcy Settlement

Through its successful settlement in the ASARCO bankruptcy, EPA will be able to clean up and bring into compliance 26 sites and facilities throughout the country. The full payment, plus interest, that EPA will receive for its sites alone will address a wide variety of environmental contamination, from arsenic to zinc.

Funds are being distributed pursuant to settlement agreements approved in 2007, 2008 and as most recently in June 2009 and will result in an estimated cleanup of at least 10.5 million cubic yards of contaminated soil, or enough to cover more than 1,960 football fields with three feet of dirt, and at least 5 million cubic yards of contaminated ground water, which is enough to fill over 1,500 Olympic size swimming pools.

All of the work brought about through the bankruptcy settlement will make communities safer and cleaner. States and other federal agencies are receiving funding to clean up over 60 sites and facilities.

The following is a brief overview of the 26 EPA funded sites and facilities.

Barker
Big River Mine Tailings/St. Joe Minerals
Bunker Hill/Coeur d'Alene
California Gulch
Cherokee County
Circle Smelting Corporation
Coy Mine
East Helena
El Paso County/Dona Ana County Metals
El Paso Smelter
Federal Mine Tailing
Federated Metals-Whiting
Hayden Smelter
Jack Waite Mine
Madison County Mines Project
Murray Smelter
Newton County Mine Tailings
Omaha Lead
Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt
Richardson Flat Tailings
Stephenson-Bennett Mine
Tacoma Smelter
Tar Creek
Taylor Springs
Terrible Mine
Vasquez Boulevard/Interstate-70

Barker, Judith Basin County, Montana

Site Description

  • The Barker-Hughesville Mining District is primarily in Cascade County with a portion in Judith Basin County. Galena Creek flows through the district. The community of Monarch is located about 15 miles away.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $1 million ($1,176,683 with interest) for cleanup.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

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Big River Mine Tailings/St. Joe Minerals, Desloge, Missouri

Site Description

  • The Big River Mine Tailings/St. Joe Minerals Corp. site is located in a former mining region known as the "Old Lead Belt", which is 70 miles south of St. Louis. This site is composed of six large areas of mine waste in this rural region, approximately 110 square miles in size. The areas included are
    • the Bonne Terre Mine Tailings Site,
    • the Leadwood Mine Tailings Site,
    • the Elvins Mine Tailings Site,
    • the Federal Mine Tailings Site,
    • the Desloge Mine Tailings Site, and
    • the National Mine Tailings Site.
  • Also included are the surrounding residential and recreational areas.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $17,072,427 million ($20,101,285 with interest).
  • $7.7 million ($9,117,195 with interest) is also available to cleanup up the Federal Mine Tailings portion of this site.

Contaminants

  • Elevated levels of lead, cadmium, and zinc have been detected in the tailings pile. Surface water and various forms of biota in the Big River contain elevated concentrations of lead.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

For more information on the Big River Mine Tailing Site (PDF)(6 pp, 69 K).

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Bunker Hill/Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Site Description

  • The Bunker Hill Mining and Metallurgical Superfund site is one of the largest and most complex abandoned hazardous waste sites in the nation. The site covers parts of northern Idaho and eastern Washington. It is divided into three areas:
    • the Coeur d'Alene Basin,
    • the 21-square-mile "Box" populated area, and
    • the Box non-populated area.
  • The Coeur d'Alene Basin covers 166 river miles within the watershed of the Coeur d'Alene River and its tributaries.
  • The 21-square mile Box area includes a former smelting facility that lies along I-90 in Northern Idaho's Silver Valley, encompassing the towns of Pinehurst, Smelterville, Wardner, and Kellogg, and the communities of Page, Ross Ranch, Elizabeth Park, and Montgomery Gulch.

Funding Level

  • Over $373 million ($436 million with interest) will be deposited into a trust document and over $41 million ($48,789,991 with interest) will be placed in an EPA special account to be available for further work at the site. The funds will help EPA to complete additional cleanup throughout the Basin.
  • A separate settlement, negotiated and approved in 2008 for the Coeur d'Alene "Box" will make $6.8 million available, $8,006,403 million with interest.

Contaminants

  • Starting in the 1880s, the Basin, one of the largest and richest sources in the world, was mined extensively for silver, zinc and lead. Mining and smelting operations deposited high levels of heavy metals, like lead, arsenic, and zinc all over the Coeur d'Alene Basin.

Settlement Information

For more information on the Bunker Hill/Coeur d'Alene Site.
For more information on the Coeur d'Alene "Box" Site.

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California Gulch, Leadville, Colorado

Site Description

  • This National Priorities List site consists of about 18 square miles in Lake County, Colorado, and includes Leadville, the highest incorporated town in the United States. Mining, mineral processing and smelting activities in the area have produced gold, silver, lead and zinc for more than 130 years. Mining in the Leadville area began in 1859 when prospectors working in the channels of the Arkansas River tributaries discovered gold at the mouth of California Gulch.

Funding Level

  • $8.8 million ($10,400,082 with interest), will be placed into a special account for additional remedial actions, if needed, and to assure the remedies already constructed remain protective. (An additional $5 million is being dispersed to the Department of Interior.)

Contaminants

  • Wastes generated during the mining, ore processing, and smelting activities contain metals such as arsenic and lead at levels posing a threat to human health and the environment. Extensive remediation has occurred and substantial progress has been made in containing contaminant migration from waste rock piles, surface impoundments, and smelter wastes.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2007.

For more information on the California Gulch Site.

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Cherokee County, Kansas

Site Description

  • The Cherokee County site is a former mining area covering about 115 square miles. It is part of a larger area sometimes called the Tri-State Mining District, which encompasses approximately 2,500 square miles in southeastern Kansas, southwestern Missouri, and northeastern Oklahoma.

Funding Level

  • Over $25 million ($29.569 million with interest) is being made available at this site.

Contaminants

  • Over one hundred years of widespread lead and zinc mining created piles of mine tailings which covered over 4,000 acres in southeastern Cherokee County. The mine tailings contain lead, zinc, and cadmium which have leached into the shallow groundwater. Run-off from the waste piles also moves contaminants into nearby streams.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

For more information on the Cherokee County Site (PDF) (11 pp, 56 K).

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Circle Smelting Corporation, Beckemeyer, Illinois

Site Description

  • Circle Smelting Corporation is a former zinc smelter owned and operated by ASARCO between 1904 and 1994 which produced a large quantity of slag containing lead and other metals that were dispersed throughout the smelter facility and other areas of the Village of Beckemeyer, Illinois. The work at the Site is complete.

Funding Level

  • $6,052,390 ($7,121,745 with interest) from a separate cost recovery settlement, and $200,000 from the Custodial Trust for future Operations and Maintenance will be available for this site.

Contaminants

  • During the smelter's operation, waste materials, such as slag, cinders and debris which can have high lead concentrations, were disposed throughout the site. Cinders from the smelter were also used in certain areas within the Village of Beckemeyer as a surface material for walking paths, driveways, and alleys.

Settlement Information

For more information on the Circle Smelting Corporation Site.

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Coy Mine Site, Jefferson County, Tennessee

Site Description

  • The Coy Mine Site was a copper mine operated by ASARCO in Tennessee. During the mid-1990s, EPA determined that ASARCO had violated its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. The violations at the Coy Mine were resolved in a consent decree filed in the Southern District of Texas in 1999. ASARCO agreed to perform a supplemental environmental project (SEP) at the Coy Mine which consisted of constructing a four-acre wetland area. ASARCO has not completed this work.

Funding Level

  • The consent decree provides that ASARCO shall pay a penalty of $200,000 ($235,336 with interest), should it not perform the SEP. The United States is receiving the full amount of this penalty.

Settlement Information

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East Helena, Montana

Site Description

  • The East Helena Site is located in Lewis and Clark County in East Helena, Montana. ASARCO owned and operated a primary lead smelter for more than 100 years at this facility. The lead smelter plant was constructed in 1888, and was acquired by ASARCO's predecessor in 1899. The smelter operated continuously from 1888 through 2000. Operations at the smelter were suspended in 2001 and the smelter was placed on standby status. Two settlements were reached by the United States with the Debtor for this site.

Funding Level

  • EPA's claim regarding ASARCO-owned properties, including the smelter, and groundwater contamination from smelter and related operations is resolved by transferring the properties to a Custodial Trust and ASARCO will deposit $99,294,000 [no interest] into a custodial trust account to be managed by the Trustee. $13,209,783 ($15,296,881 with interest), is available for the non-owned portions of the site.

Settlement Information

For more information on the East Helena Site.

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El Paso County/Dona Ana County Metals, El Paso, Texas

Site Description

  • The El Paso Site includes residential properties located in the western part of the city of El Paso. EPA has sampled over 3,900 residential properties. From 2002-2009, EPA and Asarco have conducted removals at over 1,000 residential properties.

Funding Level

  • $13,280,780 ($15,553,360 with interest) will be deposited into an EPA special account for cleanup.

Contaminants

  • The site consists of surface soil that have been contaminated by air deposition of lead and arsenic from lead and copper smelting.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2007.

For more information on the El Paso County/Dona Ana County Metals Site.

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El Paso Smelter, El Paso, Texas

Site Description

  • The facility consists of 250 acres located within the City of El Paso, Texas. Approximately 100 acres operated as a lead and copper smelter from the late 1880's to 1999.

Funding Level

  • A custodial trust was established to address remediation at the El Paso facility and the ASARCO smelter located in Amarillo, Texas. Over $52 million willl be deposited into the trust. The State of Texas is overseeing this trust and receiving the funds. EPA is a signatory to this agreement.

Contaminants

  • The cleanup must address large quantities of slag as well as soil and groundwater contaminated with cadmium, lead and arsenic.

Settlement Information

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Federal Mine Tailing, Missouri

Site Description

  • The Federal Mine Tailings Site is one of the six major mine waste areas located in a region known as the Old Lead Belt.
  • More information on the site description is contained in the Big River Mine/St. Joseph site description.

Funding Level

  • $7,743,410 ($9,117,195 with interest) will be provided for clean up at this site.

Contaminants

  • Historical mining activities were conducted in this region for the greater part of 70 years, leaving behind tailings and chat containing elevated levels of lead and zinc that pose a threat to human health and the environment.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

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Federated Metals-Whiting Site, Hammond, Indiana

Site Description

  • The Federated Metals-Whiting site is a former metal smelting and refining facility, encompassing approximately 36 acres, in Hammond, Indiana, on the shore of Lake George. The Federated Metals facility has been subject to a six-year, $3.35 million federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action/Indiana State RCRA closure project that is nearly complete. This work included demolition of an on-site baghouse; consolidation of debris, on-site hazardous wastes and slag dredged from Lake George into an existing on-site landfill; and construction of a phyto-cap on the landfill. The RCRA Corrective Action tasks remaining are the installation of off-site groundwater monitoring wells and sampling to assure that the phyto-cap is performing successfully.

Funding Level

  • The $1.2 million [no interest] allocated to the Federated Metals site in the ASARCO bankruptcy settlement is intended to fund the remaining RCRA Corrective Action and closure and post-closure activities at the site, as well as to provide a contingency to repair/replace the landfill phyto-cap should the cap fail.

Settlement Information

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Hayden Smelter, Hayden and Winkelman, Arizona

Site Description

  • The Hayden Smelter site is located 100 miles southeast of Phoenix and 50 miles northeast of Tucson. The site consists of the towns of Hayden and Winkelman, and nearby industrial areas including the ASARCO smelter, concentrator, former Kennecott smelter and all associated tailings facilities in the area surrounding the confluence of the Gila and San Pedro Rivers.

Funding Level

  • Approximately $3 million ($3,530,049 with interest) will be available through a settlement, as well as $62,411 ($73,437 with interest) for penalties.

Contaminants

  • Contamination at the site is caused by historical smelting and processing activities as well as ongoing operations.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

For more information on the Hayden Smelter site.

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Jack Waite Mine Site, Couer d'Alene National Forest, Idaho

Site Description

  • The Jack Waite Mine site in Idaho includes several mine adits, a shaft, associated waste rock piles, four tailings impoundments, and scattered areas of discarded material and debris. The site includes federal lands under the jurisdiction, control and custody of the United States Forest Service, as well as private lands. The USDA Forest Service is the lead agency for all response actions occurring on National Forest System Lands and the EPA will be the lead agency for all response actions undertaken on private lands. Additional work will be required in removal areas to restore and revegetate the flood plain of Tributary Creek.Long-term maintenance of the remedy will be required to insure it remains protective.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $11.3 million ($13, 304,758 with interest), for cleanup at the site.

Contaminants

  • High concentrations of lead, arsenic, mercury, copper, zinc and cadmium found in the tailings and run-off from the mine complex.

Settlement Information

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Madison County Mines Project (includes Catherine Mine), Madison County, Missouri

Site Description

  • The Madison County Mines Project is located in southeastern Missouri near Fredericktown in the Old Lead Belt where heavy metal mining has occurred since the early 1700s. Throughout the area, sensitive populations (young children, pregnant women, and senior adults) continue to be exposed to these contaminants.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $12,684,155 ($14,934,479 with interest) for cleanup.

Contaminants

  • Past mining operations have left at least 13 major tailings and chat deposits from mineral processing operations within the county. The tailings and chat contain elevated levels of lead and other heavy metals which pose a threat to human health and the environment. In addition, these deposits have contaminated soils, sediments, surface water, groundwater, and are impacting ecological systems.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

For more information on the Madison County Mines Project Superfund Site (PDF) (6 pp, 47 K).

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Murray Smelter, Murray City, Utah

Site Description

  • The Murray Smelter Superfund Site is the former location of a large lead smelter in Murray City. The smelter operated for about 77 years, from 1872 until 1949. ASARCO operated it from 1902 to 1949. The site comprises two areas: the former operational areas of the Murray Smelter and adjacent Germania Smelter; and the surrounding residential and commercial areas impacted by smelter stack.

Funding Level

  • $2,430,000 is being place into a custodial trust and a payment of $167,486 ($197,077 with interest) will go to an EPA special account for further cleanup.

Contaminants

  • The lead smelting and arsenic refining operations affected the soil, groundwater, surface water and sediment at the 142-acre Site and the surrounding area. The surrounding properties within the City of Murray, Utah are contaminated with arsenic and lead.

Settlement Information

For more information on the Murray Smelter Superfund Site.

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Newton County Mine Tailings, Newton County, Missouri

Site Description

  • The Newton County Mine Tailings site is located in southwest Missouri in the Tri-State Mining District. From approximately 1850 to 1950, lead, cadmium, and zinc mining were major industries in Newton County and the land is marked by numerous open mine shafts, tailings piles, and underground mine workings.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $11,484,000 ($13,521,402 with interest) for cleanup work.

Contaminants

  • The extensive mining activity resulted in underground mine openings with exposed lead, cadmium, and zinc ores. Approximately 1,800 residential homes that rely on individual private water wells are located within the site.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

For more information on the Newton County Mine Tailings Site (PDF) (4 pp, 40 K).

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Omaha Lead, Nebraska

Site Description

  • The Omaha Lead Site covers over 9,000 acres and makes up most of the eastern portion of metropolitan Omaha, Nebraska and centers on the former location of ASARCO's lead smelter and refinery. EPA became involved with the site in the 1990s when it was learned that up to 40% of the children in some areas of eastern Omaha were reported to have elevated blood lead levels. EPA has embarked on one of the largest residential yard response actions in the nation in the area surrounding the Omaha Lead Site.

Funding Level

  • Over $186 million ($219,451,414 with interest) will be deposited into an EPA special account for cleanup.

Contaminants

  • surface soils that have been contaminated by air emissions from lead smelting/refining operations. residential soils in the vicinity of Omaha's two former lead processing facilities were heavily contaminated with lead and other metals.

Settlement Information

For more information on the Omaha Lead Superfund Site (PDF) (6 pp, 66 K).

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Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt Superfund Site, Jasper County, Missouri

Site Description

  • The Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt Site is an inactive lead and zinc mining and smelting area in the southwestern portion of Jasper County, Missouri. Operations began in the mid 1800s, and included hundreds of mines and 17 smelters.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $21,402,000 ($25,198,977 with interest) will be available for site cleanup.

Contaminants

  • Sample results show that soil, ground water, and surface water are contaminated with lead, zinc, and cadmium from the mining and smelting activities. Risks include ingestion of contaminated ground water, soil, or mine wastes. About 2,600 residential homes located within the smelter and mining waste areas had yard soil above the established site action level for lead.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

For more information on the Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Best Superfund Site (PDF) (6 pp, 39 K).

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Richardson Flat Tailings Site, Park City, Utah

Site Description

  • The Richardson Flat Tailings Site covers about 160 acres in a small valley 1.5 miles northeast of Park City, Utah. The site consists of a tailings dam and impoundment that were used to capture and hold mill tailings from the Ontario Mine near Park City.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $7,400,000 ($8,712,850 with interest) for cleanup.

Contaminants

  • Hazardous substances at the site include heavy metals such as arsenic cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, silver, and zinc. The primary concerns are the site's effect on surface water and groundwater quality in the area, and the potential for people or wildlife to come into direct contact with the tailings or contaminated soils.

Settlement Information

For more information on the Richardson Flat Tailings Superfund Site.

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Stephenson-Bennett Mine Site, New Mexico

Site Description

  • The Stephenson-Bennett Mine Site is located in Dona Ana County, New Mexico. The approximately 150 acres site is located on the south side of State Highway 70, approximately one mile southwest of Organ, New Mexico and approximately five miles northeast of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Funding Level

  • EPA will receive approximately $550,000 ($647,175 with interest) in connection with the site.

Contaminants

  • Former mine and milling operations are located on-site, which include mine waste contaminated with lead and arsenic. The mine waste and contaminants have migrated onto residential properties, ranching properties, and public lands.

Settlement Information

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Tacoma Smelter Site, Tacoma, Washington

Site Description

  • The ASARCO Tacoma Smelter Site in Tacoma, Washington, is part of the Commencement Bay Nearshore/Tideflats Superfund Site. The Site consists of 67 acres formerly owned by ASARCO, a 23-acre slag peninsula owned by the Metropolitan Park District of Tacoma (MPD), and the adjacent waterway, and a residential area in Ruston/NorthTacoma. Beginning in 1890, the upland portion of the Tacoma Smelter Site was used for a lead smelter and refinery. Beginning in 1890, the upland portion of the Tacoma Smelter Site was used for a lead smelter and refinery. ASARCO purchased the property in 1905. In 1912, the facility was converted to a smelter and refine copper from copper-bearing ores and concentrates shipped in from other locations. ASARCO closed the smelter in 1985. ASARCO used slag as fill material throughout the facility, and poured slag into Commencement Bay to extend the shoreline of its property outward approximately 500 feet. Cleanup of contaminanted residential soil has been ongoing.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $27 million ($31,770,446 with interest).

Contaminants

  • An estimated 15 million tons of slag exists at the Smelter property and the constructed shoreline extension. Slag and other wastes from past smelter operations are a continuing source of contamination to the groundwater and the marine sediments offshore of the smelter property. Metals including arsenic, cadmium, copper, and lead were released into the soils, air, and Commencement Bay as a result of the smelting and refining operations. Metals in slag or soil have migrated to surface and groundwater at the Project Area.

Settlement Information

For more information on the ASARCO Tacoma Smelter Superfund site.

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Tar Creek, Ottowa County, Oklahoma

Site Description

  • The 40 square mile Tar Creek Superfund Site, listed on the National Priorities List in 1983, encompasses the Oklahoma portion of the Tri-State Mining District of northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas, and southwestern Missouri. It also includes communities in Ottawa County outside the mining area that are also contaminated with mining waste. The towns of Picher, Cardin, Commerce, North Miami, and Quapaw are part of the Tar Creek Superfund site. Approximately 30,000 people live in these five cities and towns.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $32,689,800 ($38,489,371 with interest).

Contaminants

  • Mine tailings are deposited in hundreds of piles and sediment retention ponds near the residential communities and in developed urban and rural areas. Some piles are as high as 200 feet and contain lead and other heavy metals. Primary contaminants are lead, cadmium and zinc.

Settlement Information

  • This site is associated with a settlement agreement reached between ASARCO and the federal government in 2008.

For more information on the Tar Creek Superfund Site.

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Taylor Springs Site, Taylor Springs, Illinois

Site Description

  • The Taylor Springs Site in Hillsborough, Illinois includes a 100-acre former zinc smelter and zinc oxide plant. The remaining 350 acres of the Site are wooded or farmed.

Funding Level

  • $1,344,528 ($1,582,084 with interest) will be available for cleanup. $4.2 million [no interest] will be available to the custodial trustee for future work.

Contaminants

  • A significant amount of the slag within the facility is stored in a waste pile that occupies approximately 2.5 acres and a shallow waste pile that occupies approximately 9.1 acres. Contaminants of concern associated with the slag pile are metals, primarily arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc.

Settlement Information

For more information on the Taylor Springs site.

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Terrible Mine Site, Isle Westcliffe, Colorado

Site Description

  • The Terrible Mine Site is a 44-acre site located east-northeast of Westcliffe, Colorado. Lead mining operations at the Site began around 1880 and continued sporadically through the early to mid-1940s.

Funding Level

  • The site will receive $1.4 million ($1,647,356 with interest).

Contaminants

  • Between 80,000 to 100,000 cubic yards of tailings containing significantly elevated levels of lead (as high as 25,000 ppm) cover seven acres at the Site. Mining waste has been found adjacent to and in Oak Creek, and has been found on off-site properties.

Settlement Information

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Vasquez Boulevard/Interstate-70 Site, Denver, Colorado

Site Description

  • The Vasquez Boulevard/I-70 Site is an area of approximately four square miles located in north-central Denver. Historically, this area was a major smelting center for the Rocky Mountain West. Three smelting plants: Omaha & Grant, Argo, and Globe, operated in the area for varying lengths of time, beginning as early as 1870, refining gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc.

Funding Level

  • $1.5 million ($1,766,118 with interest) will be available to address contamination at this site.

Settlement Information

For more information on the Vasquez Boulevard/Interstate 70 Site (PDF) (6 pp, 69 K).

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