From the Cañon City Daily Record (Rachel Alexander):
John Hamrick, vice president of milling, said the company has spent between $10 and $15 million on clean-up efforts since the mill shut down operations in 2006. However, continuous efforts were taking place at the mill while operations were under way, he said…
Cotter’s staff and local contractors are working on putting the first layer of the final closure on the secondary tailings impoundment. Slightly contaminated soil from the old ponds area is being used to fill the layer, Hamrick said. The company also is conducting several efforts to protect groundwater. About 18 months ago, Cotter received a notice of violation stating a plume of contaminated groundwater had been identified beneath the Shadow Hills Golf Course, just north of the plant. Cotter has been working to identify the source of that plume since it received the NOV, Hamrick said. The company has drilled several wells on the line between the two properties and tested the groundwater there. All the wells came out clean, Hamrick said. “We’re regrouping on that,” he said…
A soil conservation service, or SCS, hydraulic barrier was built in 1989 and has a pump that brings groundwater back on site for evaporation and prevents it from adding to the contamination plume in Lincoln Park. Just below that dam is the Permeable Reactive Treatment Wall, or PRTW, which catches any water that manages to bypass the SCS. Hamrick said on average, the PRTW catches 0.1 gallon of water per hour. Hamrick said irrigation in Lincoln Park has begun to dilute areas of the Lincoln Park plume. The company is planning this year to begin work on the plume just below the SCS where irrigation is not happening.
Clean up on site this year in addition to topping off the secondary impoundment will include the removal of the wooden CCD tanks and multiple ore pads. The 12 tanks are scheduled to be removed by the end of the summer. Along with the wood portion of the tanks, the company will remove the concrete foundations and excavate the soil underneath to determine leakage of the tanks. Materials from the tanks will be disposed of in the impoundments.
Cotter already has removed four feet of soil at the front gate ore pad and will continue that excavation.
The company also will remove an ore pad from 1958, breaking up the concrete and excavating the soil.
There also are piles of ore from the Western Slope that was not processed before the mill shut down in 2006. Cotter plans to sell the ore and then excavate that pad, as well.
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