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Central City/Clear Creek Big Five Mine, Chase Gulch #2, Golden Gilpin Mill

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Site Description

The Central City/Clear Creek site is a 400-square-mile watershed that extends from the Continental Divide east to Denver, CO. Mining wastes were disposed of in Clear Creek contaminating it with zinc and cadmium. Clear Creek is presently used for both agriculture and recreation. Clear Creek and its tributaries are used in whole or in part as a drinking water supply by several municipalities including Georgetown, Idaho Springs, Black Hawk, Golden, Westminster, Thornton, and Arvada.

Current Site Status and Cleanup Actions to Date

  • In 1983, EPA placed the Central City/Clear Creek site on the National Priorities List (NPL).
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is the lead for the cleanup, with EPA working in collaboration.
  • Casino developers in Central City and Black Hawk have capped or removed a number of mine waste piles as part of the cleanup.
  • CDPHE completed a cleanup at the Argo Mill waste pile and the Argo Tunnel Waste Water Treatment Plant that included storm water controls and stream bank restoration.
  • The cleanup plan has included a voluntary program that tested water from private wells. Bottled water is being provided free to those well owners who volunteered for testing and whose wells had contaminated water.
  • Records of Decision for the first two cleanup projects (known as Operable Units One and Two), identified five discharging mine tunnels and the five tailings and mine waste piles associated with those tunnels for remedial action.
  • The Record of Decision for the third cleanup project (OU3) modified those decisions and identified six discharging mine tunnels and seventeen tailings and waste piles for interim or final action. EPA will have to cleanup waste piles that range in size from 10,000 to 340,600 cubic yards.
  • The Record of Decision for Operable Unit 4 (OU4) was created to investigate contamination associated with the North Clear Creek tributary to Clear Creek.

Current Funding Status

  • The Big Five Mine Portal cleanup project is still in the design phase. Therefore, Fiscal Year 2004 construction funds were not needed.
  • The Chase Gulch #2 Mine Waste Pile project is still in the design phase. Therefore, Fiscal Year 2004 construction funds were not needed.
  • The Golden Gilpin Mill project is still in the design phase. Therefore, Fiscal Year 2004 construction funds were not needed.

For more information on the projects at this site, please read the Central City/Clear Creek Fact Sheet on the Region 8 Superfund Web site.

Key Accomplishments

  • Casino developers in Central City and Black Hawk have capped or removed a number of mine waste piles as part of the cleanup.
  • CDPHE completed a cleanup at the Argo Mill waste pile and the Argo Tunnel Waste Water Treatment Plant that included storm water controls and stream bank restoration.
  • The cleanup plan has included a voluntary program that tested water from private wells. Bottled water is being provided free to those well owners who volunteered for testing and whose wells had contaminated water.

 

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