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Mar 1, 2013 12:06 AM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Uranium mill clean-up advisory group meets in Canon City

A community advisory group tasked with providing input into the clean-up of a former uranium mill outside of Canon City met for the first time on Thursday.

The group of around twenty community members will act as a voice for those living near the site of the Cotter Corporation mill. The site holds around 15-million tons of radioactive tailings and was declared a superfund environmental disaster site in 1984 after contamination was found in groundwater.

"That's going to be extremely valuable because if you have organized input into what we're doing it makes it a lot easier, when you have a large public meeting you know you have a tendency to get get side-tracked and out of focus," explained Chris Urbina, Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "So this group will help us develop the best decisions for the clean-up of the cotter site."

The advisory group will work with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as they try to come up with a remediation plan. For some time it has been assumed that all the waste would be stored on the site, but residents are concerned that there could be further contamination. The Cotter Corporation estimates it would take over five-years and $895-million to remove all the tailings.

Thursday's meeting was an introductory session in which group members familiarized themselves with the group's role and began to outline how they will move forward, regular meetings will be scheduled throughout the coming months.

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