Region 8

Uravan Uranium Project (Union Carbide)

Uravan Uranium site location map Site Type: Final NPL
City: Uravan
County: Montrose
Street Address: 37 miles south of Gateway on Hwy 141
ZIP Code: 81436
EPA ID: COD007063274
SSID: 0846
Site Aliases: Union Carbide, UMETCO
Congressional District: 3

Site Description

The 680-acre Uravan Uranium site began as a radium-recovery plant in 1912. Its owners converted it for vanadium extraction. From the 1940s to 1984, the plant operated as a uranium and vanadium processing facility.

Operations at the 680-acre site left a large volume of wastes, contaminating air, soil and groundwater near the plant and the San Miguel River.

Contaminants included radioactive products such as raffinates, raffinate crystals and mill tailings containing uranium and radium. Other chemicals in the tailings and groundwater water were heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium and vanadium.

EPA added the site to its National Priorities List in 1986. The State of Colorado is the lead agency for the cleanup.

Cleanup for much of the site is complete, with final construction completion expected in the late fall of 2007. Following cleanup completion, the site will be deleted from the National Priorities List (NPL) and transferred to the Department of Energy for long-term management. Two historic structures—a recreation hall and boarding house—were deleted from the NPL and them demolished in 2007. Demolition debris from the two structures and underlying contaminated soils will be consolidated in an on-site repository by October 2007.

Since waste is left in place, five-year reviews will be required to ensure that the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. The most recent review was completed in September 2010 and is available in the Site Documents section below.

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Site Risk

Wastes are being contained on the site; pollution of the San Miguel River is under control; and there is no longer any residential exposure to radiation.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
air, groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment, solid waste, debris raffinates, raffinate crystals, lead, arsenic, cadmium, vanadium radium recovery plant, uranium and vanadium processing

Cleanup Progress

Cleanup remedies include:

  • Capping and revegetating nearly 10 million cubic yards of radioactive tailings.
  • Disposing of 530,000 cubic yards of radioactive raffinate crystals.
  • Eliminating process ponds.
  • Pumping and treating contaminated groundwater.
  • Securing 12 million yards of tailings waste along the San Miguel River.
  • Dismantling the two mills and placing all old building-demolition materials in a secure area.
  • Excavating and disposing of contaminated soil in a secure area, replanting these areas.
  • Dismantling and cleaning up the town of Uravan.

Wastes are being contained on the site; pollution of the San Miguel River is under control; and there is no longer any residential exposure to radiation.

In 2006, in a coordinated effort between the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Umetco, a significant source of contamination was removed from beneath Highway 141. Simultaneously, CDOT reconfigured the road to improve safety. In addition, a series of process ponds adjacent to Highway 141 were remediated. The Highway 141 portion of the Superfund site was deleted from the NPL in the fall of 2007.

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Community Involvement

In July 2010, EPA conducted interviews with public officials and citizens in the Uravan Uranium Project Superfund Site area as part of the fourth five-year review. EPA solicited public comment by placing a public notice in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel in May 2010 announcing the beginning of the five-year review process. A total of eight area residents and public officials were interviewed. No concerns with either the site remedy or protectiveness of human health and the environment were expressed. The completed five-year review is available in the Site Documents section 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 more.Best way to open a very large file: right-click and save it to a folder.

Uravan Uranium Project: Reuse Fact Sheet, August 2013

Fourth Five-Year Review Report (PDF), September 2010(149 pp, 5.2 MB)

Final Closeout Report, September 29, 2008

Federal Register Direct Final Notice of Partial Deletion, December 20, 2004

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

Summary of Ground Water Monitoring Results

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Contacts

EPA

Frances Costanzi
Project Manager
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6571
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6571 (toll free Region 8 only)
costanzi.frances@epa.gov

Jennifer Lane
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (OC)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
303-312-6813 or
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6813 (toll free Region 8 only)
303-312-7110 FAX
lane.jennifer@epa.gov

CDPHE

Shiya Wang
State Project Manager
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246-1530
303-692-3447
888-569-1831 ext. 3447 (toll free)
shiya.wang@state.co.us

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

Site Information Repositories:

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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Links

The following links exit the site Exit

Uravan Uranium Project website at CDPHE Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division

Uravan, Colorado (uravan.com)

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