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 June 2014

March 2014 Final Emergency Response/Contingency Plan

The final Emergency Response/Contingency Plan provides procedures to address emergency situations that could occur at the Eagle Mine Superfund site. The plan was prepared to provide clarification and additional response actions above and beyond what is already required at the site in the Consent Decree/Remedial Action Plan/Statement of Work. An emergency situation requires immediate action to prevent or mitigate the unpermitted release of metals-contaminated water into the environment that could present a threat to human health and the environment. The plan specifies procedures to be used to identify problems, implement initial corrective actions, notify the appropriate agencies and perform the necessary follow-up activities. The final Emergency Response/Contingency Plan is posted in Site Documents below.

2013 Pipeline Inspection and Maintenance Report

The 2013 Pipeline Inspection and Maintenance Report was finalized in February 2014 and summarizes the maintenance and repair work completed on the Eagle Mine pipelines and associated structures in 2013 and the maintenance and upgrade tasks planned for 2014. The report is posted in Site Documents below

Fourth Five-Year Review Report

EPA finalized the fourth five-year review report for Operable Units (OUs) 1 and 2 in September 2013. The five-year review is used to evaluate the remedy for the site and ensure the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. The 2013 five-year review concluded that the remedy at the Eagle Mine Superfund site for both OU1 and OU2 is currently protective of human health and the environment in the short term. However, the review concluded that the remedy is not protective in the long-term for OU1 and recommends actions to be taken, including issuing a decision document to update the surface water and groundwater cleanup levels. The review also recommends institutional controls for OU2 to deter trespassers. For more information about the 2013 five-year review, please refer to Five-Year Reviews below. The five-year review report is available in Site Documents below.

2013 Final Focused Feasibility Study

The Focused Feasibility Study Report for Operable Unit 1 was finalized in July 2013. The report presents possible additional remedial actions necessary to further reduce metals loading into the Eagle River. In this report, these remedial actions are combined into alternatives and evaluated. For more information about the 2013 Final Focused Feasibility Study, see Cleanup Progress below. The study report is available in Site Documents below.

Top of Page


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.

Top of Page


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

Top of Page


Cleanup Progress

1986 – 2001

EPA placed the Eagle Mine site on its National Priorities List (NPL) in 1986. The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (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, 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 September 2001, EPA declared that construction of the required elements of the remedy as described in the OU1 and OU2 Records of Decision was complete. The site moved into the operations and maintenance (O&M) phase.

Operation and Maintenance Phase (O&M): 2001 – Present

O&M consists primarily of maintaining the water treatment plant, periodic water quality monitoring and ensuring the required site access restrictions. To view the 2014 Surface Water Monitoring Plan, please go to Site Documents below. The following additional activities have occurred recently or are occurring during the O&M phase. Results of the water quality monitoring program and a summary of all site activities are included in the 2013 Annual Monitoring and Activity Report, which is available in Site Documents below.

Water Treatment Plant and Pipeline Audits

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

Focused Feasibility Study – New Cleanup Work

In 2009, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission modified the standards for the amount of zinc, cadmium and copper allowed in the Eagle River. As a result of previous cleanup efforts at the Eagle Mine site, the Eagle River typically meets the new water quality standards as it flows through the site, except in March and April, when metals concentrations can be elevated. To comply, EPA and CDPHE began working on a focused feasibility study to identify remedial actions capable of further reducing the amount of metals impacting the site and entering the Eagle River. In order to gather more data on the sources of metals loading from the site, pilot tests were conducted in 2012 that involved pumping groundwater in specific locations and evaluating the effect on the water level inside the mine workings. This and other information helped inform the 2013 Final Focused Feasibility Study Report. The report combines possible remedial actions into various alternatives and evaluates each alternative against set criteria, including short- and long-term effectiveness and cost. EPA and CDPHE will select the preferred alternative that best meets the criteria and controls and reduces metal loading into the Eagle River as it flows through the site. A final decision will not be made, however, until the agencies issue a proposed cleanup plan to the public for comment. The proposed plan summarizes the alternatives described in the Feasibility Study Report and details the agencies’ preferred alternative. After considering all public comment received, the agencies will issue an amendment to the Record of Decision with the final decision about the chosen alternative. With the amended Record of Decision, a responsiveness summary will be issued that will provide responses to the public comment received. The Final Focused Feasibility Study Report can be viewed in Site Documents below.

Top of Page


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.

Top of Page


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 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (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, 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 North 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 residential development plans and for the North Property 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, LLC, proposed a scaled-down plan aimed at preparing the property for residential use in the future, while withdrawing the specific development plans proposed earlier by Ginn. 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, LLC, is working on a new feasibility study for the North Property. A feasibility study evaluates possible remedial actions and technologies, and combines them into cleanup alternatives. Battle North, LLC’s feasibility study does not include specific development plans, which is a key difference from the previous feasibility study prepared by Ginn. Therefore, the feasibility study will not rely on any specific development features to serve as remedial measures. Once final, the Battle North, LLC Feasibility Study Report will be available to the public, followed by a proposed cleanup plan and public comment period. Following public comment, EPA would issue a final Record of Decision detailing the selected remedy for remediating the North Property to a residential use standard.

Top of Page


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.

Top of Page


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 the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) completed the first five-year review of the Eagle Mine Superfund Site in September 2000. The review concluded that public health risks have been removed and that significant progress had been made in restoring the Eagle River. The Eagle River trout fishery, in particular, achieved a significant recovery. The five-year review also included 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. This five-year review also included recommendations and follow-up actions for issues that needed to be addressed but did not, at the time, impact the protectiveness of the remedy.

After changes were made to the water quality standards for the Eagle River, 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, this third five-year review noted that the remedy is not protective due to a change in water quality standards, specifically zinc, adopted by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission. Thus, EPA and CDPHE determined that further reductions in zinc loading through additional response actions were needed. As a result of this finding, EPA and CDPHE, working with the potentially responsible party, initiated the Focused Feasibility Study to evaluate alternatives for additional remediation. This study 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.

EPA conducted a fourth five-year review of the Eagle Mine site in 2013. This review concluded that the remedy for OU1 currently protects human health and the environment, because the collection and treatment of contaminated surface water and groundwater is occurring, access restrictions and capped areas are in place to prevent contact with contaminated subsurface soil, and the brown trout population is recovering. However, this review noted that the remedy is not protective in the long term and recommends actions to be taken, including issuing a decision document to update the surface water and groundwater cleanup levels.

The fourth five-year review also concluded that the remedy for OU2 currently protects human health and the environment, because access restrictions currently exist to deter trespassers. However, this review recommends that institutional controls be implemented and additional means to deter trespassers be considered for the remedy to be protective for OU2 in the long term.

Top of Page


Site Documents

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

OU1 Sitewide

Final Emergency Response/Contingency Plan (PDF), March 2014(57 pp, 1.7 MB)

2013 Pipeline Inspection and Maintenance Report (PDF), February 2014(26 pp, 2.9 MB)

2013 Annual Monitoring and Activity Report (PDF), February 2014(79 pp, 1.5 MB)

2014 Surface Water Monitoring Plan (PDF), January 2014(2 pp, 96 K)

Final Focused Feasibility Study Report (PDF), July 2013(239 pp, 7 MB)

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)

Top of Page


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

Top of Page


Photo/Video Gallery

Top of Page


Links

The following links exit the site Exit

Eagle Mine site at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Town of Minturn, Colorado

ERWC Eagle Mine Ltd.

Top of Page