The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiated a removal action in July 2021, in Telluride, CO at the Telluride Valley Floor (TVF)/Boomerang Road site. This action involves the cleanup and disposal of lead and arsenic-contaminated soil and mine tailings along the San Miguel River.
Completed 2021 Activities
EPA started work on site in late-July and continued through mid-November 2021. This year EPA focused on the removal and disposal of contaminated mine tailings and soils found in and near the riverbank of the Telluride Valley Floor. EPA has completed work at the areas referred to as ST1, 2, 3 NTN, and NTN1 East tailings piles. Throughout the work season EPA has worked with the Town of Telluride to monitor road conditions and conduct air sampling. EPA also met with stream restoration engineers to continue planning for restoration operations in Summer 2022. The stream restoration plans will return the river to a more natural state. Additionally, in September 2021, the EPA conducted a sampling event in various Lawson Hill open space areas to determine if there were elevated levels of heavy metals associated with suspected mine tailings along the banks of the San Miguel River. The sampling analysis did confirm there are elevated levels of lead and arsenic in the soil samples collected. These levels are above what EPA defines as acceptable for human health and the environment.
EPA plans to take a removal action at the Lawson Hill area in Summer 2022 to mitigate the risk of exposure to human health and the environment.
Planning for Spring and Summer 2022
EPA did not complete excavation and hauling at TVF/Boomerang Rd in 2021, and will need to continue hauling into 2022, before we can begin restoration and revegetation It was important to secure the site and tailings material over the winter. To avoid leaving the tailings exposed over the winter and during spring runoff, we held off on starting work at the remaining areas.
EPA plans to start the 2022 work season at the end of May and continue operations through October 2022. During that time EPA will resume the removal and disposal of contaminated mine tailings near the riverbank of the Telluride Valley Floor. Once the removal and disposal are complete, EPA and the USFS will begin the stream restoration process.
EPA is committed to leaving the area clean and safe for the community. Over the next few months, EPA will continue our commitment to community involvement with regular website and email updates and public “Office Hours”.