ARRA Funds Expected to Jump-Start Southern Colorado Economy, Create New Jobs - Funds Come on the Heels of Letter from Udall, Bennet, Salazar Urging Expedient Completion of Summitville Mine Remediation and Clean-Up
Washington, DC - United States Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, and Congressman John Salazar, announced today that the Summitville Mine Superfund site in Del Norte will receive $10 to $25 million in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to accelerate hazardous waste clean-up already underway at the site. The funding, which is part of a $600 million appropriation to the Federal Superfund remedial program, is also expected to jumpstart the economy of Southern Colorado and create new, good-paying jobs in the area.
The economic recovery plan dollars for the Summitville Mine come on the heels of a letter sent by Udall, Bennet and Salazar in early March to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson urging the EPA to allocate $16 million in ARRA funds toward the construction of a new Water Treatment Plant at the headwaters of the Alamosa River watershed.
"With this funding, we will be able to take great strides toward further cleaning up what was one of the most dangerous abandoned mine sites in Colorado," Senator Udall said. "The Alamosa River is an important body of water for some of the oldest water rights in the state, and the damage to the river and the community as a result of historic spills from the Summitville Mine site has already been severe. We have a critical need for a sustainable water treatment facility to ensure that untreated, contaminated water does not get discharged and to protect the farmers and ranchers who depend on the river for their livelihoods. I - along with Senator Bennet and Congressman Salazar - have urged EPA to take swift action, and I am very happy to join them in announcing that funds from the Recovery Act will be used to address these ongoing water quality needs."
"With these funds, we'll be able to make headway on our efforts to restore and repair Southern Colorado's valuable land and water resources, while creating new jobs and jump starting local economies in the process," said Bennet. "It's a win-win for Coloradans who want vibrant economies and healthy communities."
"I share Senator Bennet and Senator Udall's opinion that today's news from the Obama Administration is a tremendous step toward completing the clean-up one of the worst abandoned mine reclamation disasters in Colorado history," said Salazar. "With funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the site will finally be able to host a sustainable water treatment facility to ensure that only the cleanest mountain stream drains down the headwaters of the Alamosa River. I'd like to recognize the continued hard work of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Rio Grande and Conejos Counties, and the communities and citizens affected downstream for their commitment to working together towards a true clean-up of the site."
The recovery funds will be used to construct a 1600 gallons-per-minute water treatment plant at the Summitville Mine site. The plant will remove contaminants from acidic metals-contaminated mine drainage before the water leaves the site and enters the headwaters of the Alamosa River, which flows into the Rio Grande. When the plant is operational, all cleanup work at the Summitville Mine site will be complete.
For more information on the Summitville Superfund Site, please click here. For more information on the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, please visit Recovery.gov or Colorado.gov/Recovery.