U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday put out a press release touting the Eagle Mine Superfund site near Vail and at the headwaters of the Eagle River as one of 31 sites “with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential.”
That’s likely music to the ears of proponents of a large ski, commercial and residential development proposal on private property between Minturn and Red Cliff — a proposal known as the Battle Mountain project that’s been in the works for more than a decade.
It also might revive talks of a land swap between the property owners and the U.S. Forest Service that galvanized opposition forces a couple of years ago. For more on that, see this story Real Vail wrote for the Colorado Statesman in 2015 and re-posted on RealVail.com.
And here’s Wednesday’s full press release from the EPA:
Eagle Mine Superfund site in Eagle County, Colo. among sites on redevelopment focus list
DENVER —Today (Wednesday, Jan. 17), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified the Eagle Mine Superfund site in Eagle County, Colo. as among 31 current and former National Superfund Priorities List (NPL) sites with the greatest expected redevelopment and commercial potential.
“EPA is more than a collaborative partner to remediate the nation’s most contaminated sites, we’re also working to successfully integrate Superfund sites back into communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Today’s redevelopment list incorporates Superfund sites ready to become catalysts for economic growth and revitalization.”
EPA’s redevelopment focus list includes a portion of the Eagle Mine Superfund site that has been identified for potential residential development. EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment are currently working with a development company, Battle North, LLC, to complete environmental investigation and cleanup actions necessary to allow for future residential use. In 2017, EPA selected a remedy for this area to achieve the additional cleanup of surface soils to levels that would allow for future residential development. These actions will include the excavation, containment and disposal of soils at a solid waste facility, the installation of a soil exposure barrier, and the implementation of institutional controls.
The 235-acre Eagle Mine Superfund site is located one mile from the town of Minturn and 75 miles west of Denver and is bordered by the White River National Forest. The Eagle River runs through the site. Gold, silver, copper and zinc mining and production took place on the site at various times between the 1880s and 1984 leaving high levels of metals in soils, surface water and groundwater. EPA placed the site on the NPL in 1986. To date, cleanup has included the removal of contaminated soils and sediments, containment of mine seepage and runoff, monitoring of surface water, groundwater, pool water and stream water, and land use controls. These actions have achieved significant water quality improvements in the Eagle River, an important recreational asset and a now-thriving trout fishery.
“The Eagle Mine site offers a great example of how EPA is working with local interests to secure the productive reuse of Superfund sites,” said EPA Regional Administrator Doug Benevento. “Over the past decades, cleanup actions taken at the Eagle Mine site have addressed soil, groundwater, and mine waste contamination and significantly improved water quality in the Eagle River. Our recent efforts with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Battle North build upon that progress with new remedies for soil contamination that will make portions of the Eagle Mine site ready for residential use.”
Superfund redevelopment has helped countless communities reclaim and reuse thousands of acres of formerly contaminated land. Superfund sites on the list have significant redevelopment potential based on previous outside interest, access to transportation corridors, land values, and other critical development drivers.
This is not a complete list, rather it easily directs interested developers and potential owners to Superfund sites with redevelopment potential. The sites on this list are in alphabetical order and not ranked in any particular way. As of January 11, 2018, the Superfund Redevelopment List is:
In July 2017, the Superfund Task Force released its recommendations to streamline and improve the Superfund program including a focus on redevelopment training, tools and resources towards sites on the NPL. EPA will work diligently with developers interested in reusing these and other Superfund sites; will identify potentially interested businesses and industries to keep them apprised of redevelopment opportunities; and will continue to engage with community groups in cleanup and redevelopment activities to ensure the successful redevelopment and revitalization of their communities.
Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country. The Superfund program remains dedicated to addressing risk and accelerating progress at all of its sites, not just those on the list.
This is not a complete list of sites in the Superfund program with redevelopment potential. The list is intended to be dynamic. Sites will move on and off the list as appropriate.
For more information please visit: https://www.epa.gov/