Remediation work now underway at Bolts Lake
Partnership includes developer, water providers
A collaborative effort among community stakeholders has begun to clean up portions of the Eagle Mine Superfund site at the south end of Minturn.
The Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority and landowner Battle North LLC are moving forward with a remedial work plan approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment earlier this year.
Battle North, which owns about 600 acres in the Maloit Park and Bolts Lake areas, has been working with the EPA and state health department since 2006, completing extensive testing and analysis of the site to understand which areas needed additional remediation to allow for future residential use.
The district and the authority are currently evaluating the Bolts Lake area, which was never part of the Superfund site, to confirm the feasibility of creating a water supply reservoir.
The district, the authority and Battle North reached an agreement in February for the district and authority to purchase the Bolts Lake site following a period of due diligence. The district and authority would allow passive recreation on the reservoir, including nonmotorized boating and fishing, if it does not interfere with the reservoir’s main purpose of water supply.
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Construction of the reservoir would require deep excavation within the former lake footprint to roughly triple the volume of the original reservoir capacity. The clean material excavated from the reservoir area would be used as cover material for areas in Operable Unit 3 of the Superfund site, pursuant to a remedial action work plan approved by the EPA and state health department, which furthers remediation efforts.
Operable Unit 3 of the Superfund site, which is adjacent to the proposed location of the new reservoir, was remediated in the 1990s, though some restrictions remain along Tigiwon Road and a portion of the mining trestle where the current cleanup efforts are taking place. The plan to remove several hundred yards of contaminated soil and relocating it to an approved disposal facility is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Battle North will also submit additional work plans for future cleanup of other portions of the Superfund site to the EPA and state agency for their review and approval to allow for continued remediation efforts in the coming years.
Monitoring and operation and maintenance activities have continued at the Superfund site since 2001.
Minturn Mayor John Widerman said the area cleanup is exciting.
“Historical preservation is very important to Minturnites, and so, too, is remediation of the areas that remain contaminated,” Widerman said. “We very much appreciate the efforts by the district, the authority, and the landowner to continue to clean up and make room for a much-needed water supply reservoir. This has been a collaborative effort from the beginning, and this remains a focal point of how we will continue to make progress on issues that affect more than just Minturn.”
The Bolts Lake area is planned to ultimately accommodate a 1,200 acre-foot reservoir on about 45 acres, with enough water storage to secure service for customers of the district and authority for decades to come, as well as potential future development of the Bolts Lake and Maloit Park areas.
More information is available on the district’s website: ERWSD.org.