Proposed Superfund Listing Follows Joint Support for Cleanup
Following a call from Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall and Representative Scott Tipton, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today it will propose adding the Colorado Smelter site in Pueblo to the National Priorities List through the agency’s Superfund program. The members of the delegation worked closely with Governor John Hickenlooper and Pueblo elected officials to urge the EPA to include the site.
The EPA proposal will initiate a 60-day public comment period. Using that input, the EPA will finalize its plans to assist with the cleanup efforts.
“Cleaning up this pollution and protecting people in the local neighborhoods is a top priority for Pueblo,” Bennet said. “The addition of the smelter site to the Superfund program will help expedite the cleanup efforts and prevent the spread of contamination.”
“The EPA's decision to list the former Colorado Smelting Company property as a Superfund site is welcome news for Pueblo residents who have been concerned about its contamination and related health effects,” Udall said. “I will keep working to ensure we protect Pueblo residents, swiftly clean up the site, and address the elevated lead and arsenic levels at the property.”
“The local community will now have access to the resources they requested to clean up the smelter site and ensure the safety of residents,” Tipton said.
From 1883 to 1908 the Colorado Smelting Company contaminated parts of Pueblo with lead, arsenic, and other heavy metals, and recent soil tests have confirmed that the contamination has spread to surrounding neighborhoods. In some neighborhoods, contamination levels were found to be three times higher than average. A listing under the EPA Superfund program will help clean up the abandoned hazardous waste site.
Last month, Bennet, Udall, and Tipton urged the EPA to assist with the cleanup efforts because the local community lacks the funds necessary to remediate the pollution.