EnvironmentNews

EPA accelerates cleanup of Pueblo Superfund neighborhoods

Author: Associated Press - July 6, 2018 - Updated: July 7, 2018

CO_Smelter_BaseMap_8x11_rev-080516.jpg
Photo credit: EPA
PUEBLO — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will accelerate the cleanup of three Pueblo neighborhoods that were contaminated by a smelter.The agency said Friday it will increase funding for the Colorado Smelter Superfund site to as much as $15 million a year, more than twice the current amount.

EPA says that means the cleanup will take four to six years instead of 10 years or longer under the old plan.

> RELATED: EPA’s new leader lobbied for Colo. uranium company on shrinking Bears Ears

A silver and lead smelter operated in the Bessemer, Eilers, and Grove neighborhoods from 1883 to 1908. The area became a Superfund site in 2014 because of lead and other heavy metals.

EPA is removing contaminated soil from yards and dust from inside homes.

The site includes about 1,900 homes. EPA has completed 46 soil cleanups and 34 indoor dust cleanups.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper hailed the announcement.

“This is the best news we’ve heard yet regarding funding for the cleanup at the Colorado Smelter site,” he said in a statement. “The sooner the project is done, the sooner property owners and the impacted neighborhoods can move on to enjoy their communities.”

Associated Press