Region 8

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park site location map Site Type: Final NPL
Current Colorado Radiation Control License
City: Cañon City
County: Fremont
Street Address: 0502 Fremont County Road 68
ZIP Code: 81212
EPA ID: COD042167858
SSID: 0828
Site Aliases: Uranium Mill
Congressional District: 5

What's New?

Updated November 2012

The EPA, in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), completed the second five-year review of the Lincoln Park Superfund Site. The five-year review focused on the residential soils portion of Operable Unit 2 (OU2) and found it to be protective of human health and the environment. This review was signed on September 27, 2012.

The CDPHE and the EPA held a community meeting on September 27, 2012 to discuss the Community Advisory Group (CAG) reformation strategy, including the purpose and role of a CAG. A steering committee was formed to assist with the reformation of the CAG. The steering committee is currently seeking individuals to become members of the re-formed CAG. More information is available in the Community Involvement section.

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Cotter Corporation’s decision to terminate its Radioactive Materials License presents a fresh opportunity to determine a path forward to complete work required under three different authorities: the Consent Decree and Remedial Action Plan, Cotter’s Radioactive Materials License and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (referred to as CERCLA or Superfund). This past summer, CDPHE and the EPA proposed a path forward or “Road Map” to clean up historic uranium mill contamination both on and off of Cotter Corporation’s property located in the Lincoln Park Superfund Site.

The documents outlining this proposed road map are below. The comment period regarding the proposed road map recently closed. CDPHE and the EPA are reviewing the comments received and expect to provide a response to comments and a revised roadmap, as appropriate, in the near future.

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Site Description

The Cotter Corporation Uranium Mill in Cañon City started producing uranium oxide, or yellowcake, at the mill in 1958. In addition to producing yellowcake, the mill produced both vanadium and molybdenum as by-products. The mill was originally licensed by the Atomic Energy Commission, but authority for licensing was transferred to the Colorado Department of Health (currently called the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment) in 1968.

During the operation (1958 to 1979) of the former alkaline leach mill at the site, tailings were discharged into unlined impoundments, now known as the old ponds area. Sand Creek flows from the mill area north towards the residential area named Lincoln Park. A flood event in June 1965 caused the unlined impoundments in the old ponds area to overflow into Sand Creek. In 1972, a flood control dam was completed by the Soil Conservation Service on Sand Creek, approximately 0.8 miles north and downstream of the mill area. Since the dam’s completion, surface runoff and spring flow which emerges upgradient of the dam have been impounded at the dam, and since 1979 this impounded water has been pumped back to the primary impoundment.

The Lincoln Park site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. The Superfund listing includes Cotter's 2,600 acre uranium mill and areas where contamination occurred. Historic releases to the environment were found to affect surface soils and groundwater in neighboring Lincoln Park.

Lincoln Park is a semi-rural community located two miles south of Cañon City, about 1.5 miles north of Cotter's property. Many of the residents have gardens and orchards and some raise livestock. The mill is in the Sand Creek drainage, which flows through Lincoln Park to the Arkansas River.

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Site Risk

Cotter disposed of tailings and other wastes from uranium processing into unlined ponds before 1980, following the custom of the times. Contaminants leached into groundwater, then migrated to Lincoln Park, affecting local wells. Few residents use groundwater for domestic purposes. Most are connected to the Cañon City water supply. Some individuals in Lincoln Park still use groundwater to irrigate lawns and gardens.

The contaminants of concern at the site are molybdenum, uranium and uranium daughter products. Repeated exposure to molybdenum can cause increased uric acid accompanied by gout-like symptoms.

Molybdenum poisoning can be severe in cud-chewing animals that eat feed low in copper. Uranium is a radioactive metal; it occurs naturally in most rocks and soil. In its natural state, it has low levels of radioactivity. If swallowed, it can be toxic to the kidneys. Uranium breaks down or "decays" very slowly. It decays to radium through a series of chemical and radiological changes. Radium, radon gas and polonium are among the daughter products of uranium. Selenium and sulfate are also included in the contaminants of potential concern.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
air, groundwater, surface water, soil molybdenum, uranium, uranium daughter products uranium milling operations

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Cleanup Progress

The Lincoln Park Superfund Site includes the Cotter Corporation Uranium Mill, which has a Radioactive Materials License issued by the Colorado Radiation Control Program. The facility is not operating, but is working toward license termination. The Lincoln Park site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984. In 1986, the EPA and the state signed a Memorandum of Agreement giving the state the lead role in overseeing the Superfund cleanup of the site.

In 1988, the State of Colorado settled a lawsuit for natural-resource damages with Cotter Corporation. As part of the settlement, the state and Cotter agreed on how the site would be cleaned up further at Cotter's expense. This settlement document is referred to as the Consent Decree/Remedial Action Plan (CD/RAP). The EPA is not a party to this settlement.

Cleanup at the Lincoln Park Superfund site occurs under the joint authorities of the Radioactive Materials License, the CD/RAP, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, commonly known as Superfund.

Map of operable units and restricted areas, July 12, 2012

Much of the work to-date has been conducted under either the License or the CD/RAP. Documents related to this work can be found on the state’s website or in the information repository for the site.

In 2002, the EPA and CDPHE signed a Record of Decision recommending no further action for residential soils in the Lincoln Park residential area, referred to as Operable Unit 2.

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Cotter Corporation’s decision to terminate their Radioactive Materials License presents a fresh opportunity to determine a path forward to complete work under three different authorities: the Consent Decree and Remedial Action Plan, Cotter’s Radioactive Materials License and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (referred to as CERCLA or Superfund).

The comment period regarding the draft Road Map recently closed. The CDPHE and EPA are reviewing the comments received and expect to provide a response to comments and a revised road map, as appropriate in response to comments, in the near future.

The draft Road Map documents are as follows:


Community Involvement

Community involvement plays an important role in the Superfund process. The 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.

Cañon City area residents are actively involved in the remediation of the Cotter Mill/Lincoln Park Superfund Site. A Citizens Advisory Group (CAG) has been meeting monthly for many years in Cañon City and has provided a forum for citizens to present opinions and for the CDPHE and EPA regulatory officials to present current information. This CAG is in the process of being re-formed. A steering committee composed of individuals with some interest in the prior Community Advisory Group (CAG), or with some interest in the Lincoln Park/Cotter Uranium Mill cleanup, was recently formed by the CDPHE and EPA. The steering committee is comprised of local representatives: elected officials, government staff, medical/public health/environmental professionals, Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste (CCAT), community members and the Cotter Corporation. A facilitator is assisting the steering committee in this process.

The Cotter/Lincoln Park Steering Committee is currently looking for a diverse group of 12 to 15 people to represent Fremont County as part of a new Cotter Mill/Lincoln Park Community Advisory Group (CAG). The new Cotter Mill/Lincoln Park Community Advisory Group will have a unique opportunity for community involvement and to provide valuable community input to the agencies involved in the Lincoln Park Superfund Site and the Cotter Corporation (N.S.L.) Uranium Mill closure in Cañon City.

Interested potential CAG members should be willing to make a time commitment of approximately 6-10 hours per month for meetings, to review related documents, and to make this new CAG a successful working and advisory group. The steering committee will recommend to the CDPHE and EPA individuals for membership in the CAG.

If you are interested in this very important community activity, please submit the following information to the Cotter/Lincoln Park Steering Committee no later than December 1, 2012:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address
  • A statement about yourself that will help the Steering Committee select a group of people to recommend for the Cotter/Lincoln Park Community Advisory Group.

Please submit this information to fcns@fremontco.com or deliver by mail to:

Cotter/Lincoln Park Steering Committee
c/o Vital Records
172 Justice Center Road
Cañon City, CO 81212

no later than December 1, 2012.

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Reuse

The 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. We use 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, the 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.

The reasonably anticipated future land use is typically determined during the RemediaI Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Superfund process. This information is considered during the development and selection of the remedy for the site. Additionally, many properties in Lincoln Park area are already in continued use as residential properties.

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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.

Options for institutional controls are developed as needed during the RI/FS process and selected in the Superfund Record of Decision as a component of the remedy. No institutional controls were selected in the 2002 ROD for Lincoln Park soils since it was determined that the cleanup met the Superfund standard for unlimited use and unrestricted exposure.

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Five-Year Reviews

The EPA or 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.

The EPA, in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), has completed the second five-year review of the Lincoln Park Superfund Site. The purpose of a five-year review is to evaluate the implementation and performance of a remedy to determine if it is or will be protective of human health and the environment. This five-year review focused on the residential soils portion of OU2 since this is the only portion of the site cleanup so far to be addressed by a decision document. The five-year review was signed on September 27, 2012.

The "No Further Action" remedy selected in the 2002 Record of Decision for OU2 is protective in the short term because remedial action goals were achieved through prior cleanup actions and no waste was left in place. This allows for unrestricted use as defined by the National Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) License Termination Rule and unlimited use and unrestricted exposure as defined by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). A remedy selection for the groundwater at OU2 is necessary to determine whether the soil remedy will be protective in the long term. Current studies indicate there is no statistical increase of contaminants from the groundwater into the soil as a result of long-term irrigation.

This five-year review is discretionary and does not require ongoing five-year reviews since the remedy for OU2 soils did not leave any waste in place that would prevent unrestricted use and unlimited exposure. Until statutory five-year reviews are triggered for this site, the EPA may conduct further five-year reviews at its discretion.

A copy of the 2012 five-year review report is available in the Site Documents section below or at the site’s information repository, listed in the Contacts section.

Community members with questions about the site or the five-year review process will find contact information below.

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Site Documents

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn moreMILDOS-AREA Model / Air Dispersion Modeling Presentation, November 2013

Second Five-Year Review Report (PDF), September 2012 (107 pp, 3.8 MB)

OU2 Record of Decision (PDF), January 3, 2002 (87 pp, 1 MB)

Memorandum of Agreement for the Lincoln Park and Uravan CERCLA Sites, April 2, 1986

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Contacts

EPA

Mark Aquilar
Remedial Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (8EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6251
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6251 (toll free Region 8 only)
aguilar.mark@epa.gov

CDPHE

Edgar Ethington
Lincoln Park Project Manager
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246-1530
303-692-3438
888-569-1831, ext. 3438 (toll free)
303-692-3692 FAX
edgar.ethington@state.co.us

Warren Smith
Community Involvement Manager
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
303-692-3373
888-569-1831 ext. 3373 (toll free)
warren.smith@state.co.us

Site Information Repositories:

The Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center
612 Royal Gorge Boulevard
P.O. Box 1460
Cañon City, CO 81215
719-269-9036

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

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)

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Photo/Video Gallery

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Links

The following links exit the site Exit

Cotter Uranium Mill/Lincoln Park Superfund Site at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Colorado Citizens Against Toxic Waste, Inc. (C.C.A.T.)

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