Region 8


Note: EPA no longer updates this information, but it may be useful as a reference or resource.

Site Type: Time-Critical Removal Action
City: Breckenridge
County: Summit
Street Address: Shock Hill area on Airport Road and Wellington-Oro area on French Gulch Road
ZIP Code: 80424
EPA ID: CON000802644
Congressional District: 2

Site Description

On the northwestern edge of the Town of Breckenridge in the area known as Shock Hill there are historical mine explorations excavations and an adit into the hillside, which have created 18 piles of mine waste rock (Photo 2). Piles range in estimated sizes from less than 100 cubic yards to as much as 2,000 cubic yards. Sampling and analyses of 18 waste rock piles showed wide ranges of lead concentrations. Significantly elevated levels of lead and arsenic were found at the surface in approximately six piles. Some of the six piles contain lead and arsenic at maximum concentrations of 51,800 mg/kg and 420 mg/kg respectively (Photo 3).

A recent land survey indicates that the majority of the piles that exhibited higher concentrations of arsenic and lead are located in part, or entirely, on private lands. Several piles overlap or are on USDA - Forest Service (FS) property (Photo 3).

The Claimjumper Condominium has multi-family housing units immediately adjacent to the waste piles, which creates the likelihood of human exposure, including children, to high concentrations of lead and arsenic. Contaminant migration off-site during precipitation events and normal seasonal snowmelts will occur with portions of the waste piles releasing contaminants to adjacent property and surface water.

The Wellington-Oro mine complex contains a major waste rock deposit (roughly estimated at more than 100,000 cubic yards) located on French Gulch Road and the waste rock here also contains significantly elevated levels of lead and arsenic. A small portion of this property (approximately two acres) is FS public land that is otherwise surrounded by town and county property with the same type of waste rock. The Forest Service has a responsibility to manage that area to be protective of human health and minimize off-site contamination. By providing a place to consolidate the Shock Hill/Claimjumper mine waste rock with the Wellington-Oro mine waste rock, both areas can be addressed in the same action (Photo 5). This mine complex is located approximately 0.3 miles from the Wellington neighborhood.

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Site Risk

Heavy metals, especially lead and arsenic, are present in many of the waste piles at concentrations well above acceptable levels for residential settings. Those piles with the highest values that are adjacent to the residential complex are the priority for EPA. The Claimjumper home owner's association, the local governments, the State and the FS are working cooperatively.

Media Affected Contaminants Source of Contamination
soil, air arsenic, lead historical mining

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Cleanup Progress

EPA and FS have formed a joint project, and EPA has agreed to take the lead in implementing a CERCLA removal action. The project has approval and funding for 2007 from both agencies. The response action involves removing approximately 6,000 to 8,000 cubic yards of the waste rock from the Shock Hill/Claimjumper area and consolidating it with the waste rock located at the Wellington Oro mine complex. The area used to consolidate these materials would then be capped with a soil cover and vegetated to eliminate direct contact and prevent erosion of contaminated soil.

Wellington Oro Mine Waste Consolidation on Federal, Town and County Land

Waste rock moved from the Shock Hill area would be graded over the existing lower level waste rock dumps independent of the property boundaries such that it provides the greatest degree of protection. This would generally be in the area from approximately the mine adit portal to the existing capped mine waste pile. The area would then be capped and vegetated. Additional mine waste contaminated soil from the Wellington neighborhood development work could now be accommodated in this area of consolidation under the cap.

  • A larger area of waste rock now present at the Wellington Oro mine will be capped and protected from erosion off-site and public access to that same material will be reduced. This includes land that the Town and County are required to manage according to the terms of the Consent Decree with the United States.
  • Mine waste contaminated soil from the Wellington Oro Neighborhood development must be contained and capped to be protective. This approach will allow it to be removed from the flood plain and farther from the homes and future open space areas.
  • EPA and FS will pay for the implementation of this action in 2007 because it allows for a better grading of the slopes and improved design for the soil cover.

Removal Action Scope

The current proposed scope of this project includes removing approximately 6,000 to 8,000 cubic yards of mining related waste rock from the Shock Hill/Claimjumper area to the Wellington Oro mine complex to create a common storage area for the mine waste rock with material already present at the Wellington Oro.

The current plan for the removal action provides the following:

  • Removal and/or capping of six priority waste rock piles at the Claimjumper area. These six waste piles contain the highest levels of hazardous substances and are most accessible to area residents and people recreating in the area. The piles contain approximately 6,000 cubic yards of material.
  • Material removed from the Claimjumper waste rock piles will be transported to the Wellington-Oro federal parcel where it will consolidated with existing waste rock at the Wellington Oro mine. The mine waste will be placed, graded, and capped in the repository.
  • The repository plan will also provide controls for mine waste that is already at the proposed repository location.
  • Material left at the Claimjumper area will be regraded, capped and revegetated.

To accomplish the removal action some of the potential construction activities include:

  • Routes for new access to waste piles at the Claimjumper will be cleared of trees and undergrowth.
  • Site waste will be removed and loaded by conventional excavation equipment and transported by truck to the Wellington-Oro repository.
  • Dust control measures will be applied at both Shock Hill/Claimjumper and Wellington Oro mine earth moving areas and for the hauling operations. Waste material and gravel roads will be watered and truck loads will be covered as necessary to prevent dust.
  • Waste rock hauling from the Shock Hill/Claimjumper parcel to the Wellington-Oro repository will require about 600 to 800 truck loads and last approximately two to three weeks. Truck traffic safety controls will be used and may include flaggers, lower speeds or convoying.
  • Excavation depth at the Claimjumper will generally be to natural grade or approximately one foot below grade. All disturbed areas at the Claimjumper within the construction boundary will be regraded and revegetated. Generally cover soil in contaminated areas will be approximately one foot deep to prevent human exposure and contaminant migration. Revegetation includes amending soil as needed, seeding, fertilizer, mulch and erosion control.
  • The Wellington-Oro repository construction will involve design, site preparations, grading, waste placement, capping, and drainage control for precipitation run-on and run-off. The cap design will meet typical mine waste capping standards for a multi-layer soil cover and vegetative cover.

The Forest Service will evaluate satellite waste piles on public land in the Shock Hill/Claimjumper area and potential response actions, if needed. The objective will be to minimize the risk of exposure to elevated heavy metal while not unnecessarily disturbing the hill side, which may worsen the situation.

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Community Involvement

EPA and FS are providing information and working closely with Town of Breckenridge staff, the Breckenridge Town Council, Summit County staff, the Summit County Commissioners, and the Claimjumper and Wellington-Oro neighborhoods for this removal action. The agencies have met with the local governments and residents prior to the start of the project and will continue to meet with these stakeholders and involve them throughout the course of the removal action.

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Site Documents

Removal Action Completion Fact Sheet

Removal Action Fact Sheet

Removal Action Questions and Answers

Airborne Particulate Monitoring Concentrations Table

Truck Hauling Monitoring Fact Sheet, August 2007

Truck Hauling Monitoring Fact Sheet, July 2007

Truck Hauling Fact Sheet

Truck Hauling New Route Fact Sheet

Haul Route Analysis

Figure 1: Primary Transportation Route

Figure 2: Tailings Piles & User Trails

Figure 3: Removal Priority Piles

Figure 4: Wellington-Oro Repository Site

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Steven Way
On-Scene Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (EPR-SR)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6723 (toll free Region 8 only)

John Dalton
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
1595 Wynkoop Street (OC)
Denver, CO 80202-1129
800-227-8917 ext. 312-6633 (toll free Region 8 only)


Olivia Garcia
Forest Service On-Scene Coordinator
Supervisor's Office
White River National Forest
PO Box 948
900 Grand Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81602

Sally Spalding
Forest Service Public Affairs
White River National Forest
PO Box 948
900 Grand Avenue
Glenwood Springs, CO 81602

Site Informaton Repositories:

Summit County Library
504 Airport Road
Breckenridge, CO 80424
Monday–Thursday 9 a.m.–7 p.m.
Friday–Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m.

EPA Superfund Records Center
1595 Wynkoop Street
Denver, CO 80202-1129
To request copies of administrative record documents call:
800-227-8917 ext. 312-7273 (toll free Region 8 only)

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Photo/Video Gallery

Click on a thumbnail below to view the full size image.

Overview map of the Claimjumper site
Claimjumper waste rock pile
Claimjumper waste rock pile
Claimjumper slope cap
Wellington-Oro repository area

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