Region 8

Eagle Mine

Eagle Mine site location map Site Type: Final NPL
City: Minturn/Redcliff
County: Eagle
Street Address: W. of US Hwy 24
Zip Code: 81657
EPA ID: COD081961518
SSID: 0845
Site Aliases: Gilman, New Jersey Zinc, CO-Eagle Mine
Congressional District: 2

What's New?

Updated April 2012

North Property Update – Eagle Mine Site Operable Unit (OU3)

Revised Feasibility Study (FSA) In 2009, Battle North, LLC took over development of the North Property from Ginn Battle North. Battle North advanced a scaled-down, revised approach for the North Property, focused on remediating it for possible future residential use, without any specific development plans. The North Property historically received the waste (tailings) from the mining operations at Eagle Mine, and the remedy implemented at the Eagle Mine Superfund site was not intended to be protective for residential use. Contaminants remain at the site at levels considered too high for residential use. As a result, EPA is working with Battle North to take the necessary cleanup steps required in the Superfund process. Battle North is revising the 2007 Ginn-produced Feasibility Study Report, which presents potential cleanup alternatives and the rationale behind them. As no specific development plans are being proposed, the Battle North Feasibility Study is no longer relying on any development features, such as parking lots or building foundations, to serve as remedial measures. Once final, the Battle North Feasibility Study Report will be available to the public, followed by a proposed cleanup plan and public comment period, leading to a final Record of Decision detailing the selected remedy for remediating the North Property to a residential use standard.

Additional Eagle Mine Remedial Activity - Eagle Mine Site Operable Unit 1 (OU1)

Focused Feasibility Study (FFS) In 2009, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission modified the standard for the amount of zinc allowed in the Eagle River. To comply, EPA and CDPHE have been working on a Focused Feasibility Study Report that will identify remedial alternatives capable of reducing further the amount of zinc impacting the site and entering the Eagle River. In order to gather more data about the sources of metals loading from areas at the Eagle Mine Site, the agencies have asked CBS Operations, Inc., the responsible party for the cleanup of the overall Eagle Mine Superfund Site (this does not include the cleanup required for the proposed redevelopment, which is currently Battle North, LLC’s responsibility), to conduct some pilot tests. The pilot tests began in March 2012 and involve pumping groundwater in specific locations at the site and evaluating the effect on the water level inside the mine workings. Once the pilot studies are concluded later this spring, a Focused Feasibility Study Report will be finalized and will lead to a proposed cleanup plan, public comment, and eventually an amendment to the OU1 Eagle Mine Superfund Site Record of Decision. The remedy selected in the Record of Decision will then be implemented at the site, reducing zinc and other metals loading to the Eagle River, in order to meet the new water quality standard.

Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline Audits

Due to situations that occurred at the water treatment plant at the Eagle Mine site in late 2009 and early 2010, EPA and CDPHE agreed to have an audit conducted of both the water treatment plant itself and its associated pipeline conveyance system. ENVIRON is currently the contractor operating the water treatment plant. CBS, the responsible party, agreed with the audit findings described in The Eagle Mine Water Treatment Plant: Summary of October 2010 Performance Evaluation and has either already implemented the recommendations or is in the process of doing so. In addition, CBS Operations, Inc. has completed all repairs and updates recommended in the January 2011 Audit of Collection and Conveyance Systems for Eagle Mine. The changes are expected to improve the reliability and security of systems related to the collection and pipeline systems.

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Site Description

The Eagle Mine Superfund Site is located in Eagle County, Colorado, approximately one mile southeast of Minturn. The site is defined as the area impacted by past mining activity along the Eagle River between the towns of Red Cliff and Minturn. Miners began working the Eagle Mine in the 1880s, searching for gold and silver. The Eagle Mine later became a large zinc mining operation, leaving high levels of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead and zinc in the soil and in surface and groundwater. Copper-silver production continued at Eagle Mine until the mine workings were allowed to flood and the mine closed in 1984.

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Site Risk

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
groundwater, surface water, solid waste, soil, liquid waste, debris, sediment arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, zinc metals mining

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Cleanup Progress

EPA placed Eagle Mine on its National Priorities List (NPL) in 1986. CDPHE and the potentially responsible party, Viacom (today, CBS Operations, Inc.), implemented a cleanup plan in 1988 to:

  • Plug mine portals to flood the mine workings.
  • Collect and treat mine and groundwater in a newly constructed treatment plant.
  • Remove, consolidate and cap tailings materials.
  • Replant removal areas and capped soils.

In 1989, EPA became more involved in the project, resulting in additional cleanup measures:

  • Assessing health risks in the middle school and Minturn area.
  • Ordering the cleanup and reconstruction of the wetlands area.
  • Removing hazardous materials from the mine site.
  • Pumping and treating groundwater.
  • Strengthening cleanup standards for the Eagle River.

In 1993, EPA issued a Record of Decision for the majority of the site, administratively referred to as Operable Unit 1 (OU1). The Record of Decision required further action than had already been taken. The goal of the remedial activities required by the Record of Decision was to control the transport of metals from various sources to the Eagle River and to groundwater. In 1998, EPA issued a second Record of Decision for Operable Unit 2 (OU2). OU2 focused on contaminated soils in the abandoned company town of Gilman and surrounding areas. The OU2 Record of Decision identified institutional controls, or restricted access, as a sufficient remedy for OU2.

In October 2001, EPA declared that construction of the required elements of the remedy is complete, and the site moved into the operations and maintenance (O&M) phase, consisting primarily of maintaining the water treatment plant, periodic water quality monitoring and ensuring the required site access restrictions.

In 2009, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission lowered the zinc standard for the Eagle River. To comply, the remedy for the Eagle Mine site must be revised to further reduce the amount zinc coming from residual heavy metals in the soils, groundwater and surface water. EPA and CDPHE have been working with CBS to identify additional remedial actions at the Eagle Mine site that would reduce the amount of zinc from the site.

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Community Involvement

Community involvement plays an important role in the Superfund process. EPA uses a number of different tools and resources to promote effective, on-going, meaningful community involvement. The goals of the Superfund community involvement program are to:

  • Keep communities affected by sites informed throughout the cleanup process.
  • Provide opportunities for communities to comment and offer their input about site cleanup plans.
  • Facilitate the resolution of community issues tied to a site.

EPA provides Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs) to community groups so that community residents can hire a technical advisor for independent review of the cleanup. The Eagle River Watershed Council, Eagle Mine, Ltd., is the current TAG recipient. EPA is committed to working with members from this group and the broader community surrounding the Eagle Mine Superfund Site.

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Reuse

EPA places a high priority on land reuse as part of its Superfund response program mission. The agency tries to select cleanup options that encourage and support future use of a site. EPA uses two fundamental methods to facilitate reuse of Superfund sites:

  • Exploring future uses before the cleanup remedy is implemented, an approach that gives the Agency the best chance of designing cleanup remedies to support the likely future use of a site.
  • Working with landowners and communities to remove barriers not considered necessary for the protection of human health or the environment at those sites where remedies are already in place.

One option for reuse is the siting of clean and renewable energy projects on contaminated (or formerly contaminated) lands. As part of this effort, EPA is evaluating the potential for energy projects on these properties and working with landowners and communities to identify ways to remove barriers to such projects.

In 2004, Ginn Battle North purchased approximately 750 acres of land comprised of the northern portion of the Eagle Mine Superfund Site and adjacent areas. The company approached EPA and CDPHE with a preliminary proposal to redevelop the acreage it had purchased into a private, residential golf course community called Battle Mountain. For administrative purposes, EPA created a new operable unit, Operable Unit 3 (OU3), referred to as the North Property, to mirror the boundaries of the proposed development. Previous cleanup activities on the Eagle Mine Superfund Site were not intended to achieve cleanup levels for residential uses. Therefore, the proposed redevelopment required additional cleanup actions to ensure that residents, workers and visitors to the property were protected. EPA and CDPHE worked closely with the company and oversaw their development of a Remedial Investigation, including a Human Health Risk Assessment and Feasibility Study (RI/FS). These were important steps required in the Superfund process in order for Ginn Battle North to proceed with their development plans and for the area to continue to be protective of human health and the environment.

In 2009, Battle North, LLC took over the proposed redevelopment plans for the North Property. Battle North proposed a scaled-down plan aimed at preparing the property for residential use, while withdrawing the specific development plans proposed earlier by Ginn. The goal of Battle North was to protect the existing remedy and address the remaining mine waste at the property, while conducting additional cleanup to allow for residential use sometime in the future. As with the earlier Ginn proposal, EPA and CDPHE continue to ensure that Battle North LLC take all necessary environmental investigation and cleanup steps required in the Superfund process to allow for proposed residential use. Battle North is developing a new Feasibility Study Report. However, a key difference in the Battle North, LLC Feasibility Study Report is that specific development plans are not included so the revised feasibility study amendment will not rely on any specific development features to serve as remedial measures.

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Land Use Controls and Other Institutional Controls

Land use controls are the most common type of institutional control (IC). ICs are administrative or legal controls that help reduce the likelihood for human exposure to contamination. ICs can also help protect the integrity of the remedy. Examples of ICs are:

  • Zoning ordinances.
  • Environmental covenants.
  • Deed notices.
  • Well-drilling restrictions.
  • Building permits.
  • Informational advisories.

Institutional controls are an important aspect of the Eagle Mine Superfund Site remedy. At OU1, groundwater is restricted from being used at many areas of the site due to remaining heavy metal contamination, including Rex Flats, the Old Tailings Pile and the Maloit Park areas. The remedy for OU2, which includes the abandoned company town of Gilman and surrounding areas, consists entirely of institutional controls. Institutional controls at OU2 address the principal threat at the site by limiting site access and providing a long-term, local presence. In addition, institutional controls dictate that EPA and CDPHE be informed of any proposed change in land use at the Eagle Mine site. If land use changes, the agencies must determine if additional remediation would be required. EPA and CDPHE must review any developer-generated plans to assure that they are protective of human health and the environment.

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Five-Year Reviews

EPA or the lead agency conducts five-year reviews following the start of a Superfund cleanup when contamination is left on the site. These reviews are repeated every five years. We use these reviews to determine:

  • How the remedy is working.
  • If the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.

EPA and CDPHE completed the first five-year review of the site in September 2000. The review concluded that public health risks have been removed and that significant progress has been made in restoring the Eagle River. The Eagle River trout fishery, in particular, has achieved a significant recovery. Also documented in the report were recommendations and follow-up actions for issues that needed to be addressed but did not, at the time, impact the protectiveness of the remedy.

EPA and CDPHE completed the second five-year review in 2005, which stated that the remedies for both OU1 and OU2 were continuing to be protective of human health and the environment. Also documented in the report were recommendations and follow-up actions for issues that needed to be addressed but did not, at the time, impact the protectiveness of the remedy.

EPA and CDPHE conducted a third five-year review at the Eagle Mine site in 2008. Results showed that the specific remedy elements implemented at OU1 and OU2 continue to be protective of human health and the environment. However, overall it was determined that the remedy is not protective due to the recent change in water quality standards, specifically zinc, adopted by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. It was determined that further reductions in zinc loading through additional response actions were needed. The report also documented recommendations and follow-up actions for issues that needed to be addressed but did not, at the time, impact the protectiveness of the remedy.

The next five year review is scheduled to be completed no later than September 30, 2013

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Site Documents

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA's PDF page to learn more.

OU3 Human Health Risk Assessment

OU3 Human Health Risk Assessment, February 2007

Comments on Human Health Risk Assessment, October 2006

OU3 Feasibility Study

Feasibility Study Fact Sheet, March 2007

Map of OU3 Site Features, March 2007

Final Response to Comments for Feasibility Study, March 2007

Remediation Feasibility Study, February 2007
Note: the complete document is too large to post on the website. For the full FS, including all figures and maps, please contact Jennifer Chergo.

OU3 Remedial Investigation

Remedial Investigation Report, September 2006

Remedial Investigation Report Fact Sheet, December 2006

Five-Year Review

Fourth Five-Year Review Report, September 2013

Decision Documents

OU2 Record of Decision (PDF), September 1998 (11 pp, 28 K)

OU1 Record of Decision (PDF), March 1993 (43 pp, 92 K)

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Contacts

EPA

Les Sims
Remedial Project Manager
U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6224
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6224 (toll free Region 8 only)
sims.leslie@epa.gov

Jennifer Chergo
EPA Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8OC)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6601
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6601 (toll free Region 8 only)
chergo.jennifer@epa.gov

CDPHE

Wendy Naugle
State Project Manager
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South B2
Denver, CO 80246-1530
303-692-3394
888-569-1831 ext. 3394 (toll free)
wendy.naugle@state.co.us

Warren Smith
Community Involvement Manager
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South B2
Denver, CO 80246-1530
303-692-3373
888-569-1831 ext. 3373 (toll free)
warren.smith@state.co.us

Site Information Repositories:

Minturn Town Hall
302 Pine Street
Minturn, CO 81645
970-827-4104

EPA Superfund Records Center
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202-1129
To request copies of administrative record documents call:
303-312-7273
800-227-8917 ext. 312-7273 (toll free Region 8 only)

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
HMWMD Records Center
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, Colorado 80246-1530
303-692-3331
888-569-1831 ext. 3331 (toll free)
303-759-5355 FAX
comments.hmwmd@state.co.us
By appointment only

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Photo/Video Gallery

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Links

The following links exit the site Exit

Eagle Mine site at the CDPHE Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division

Town of Minturn, Colorado

ERWC Eagle Mine Ltd.

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