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Cleanup of Colorado Smelter Superfund site top priority for EPA - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Cleanup of Colorado Smelter Superfund site top priority for EPA

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PUEBLO -

Cleanup for hundreds of homes near the Colorado Smelter Superfund Site is now a top priority for the Environmental Protection Agency. The organization has a plan that could begin as soon as next year. 

On Thursday, News5 spoke with people in the Eilers neighborhood and found mixed reactions to the recommended plan. 

"The considerations on the front end were that the blood lead levels in our children could be elevated because of the possible contamination." 

Joe Kocman says he's been living with this fear for many years. He lives near the old Colorado Smelter site where lead and other toxins threaten the neighborhood. 

Kocman said, "We in the neighborhood have had to live in limbo trying to figure out what's going on."

For Kocman, it has to do with clean up at the Superfund site. 

"It's been a painful process to get here, but now that we're at this point there's no doubt that we are being taken care of, that our voices have been heard," he added.

Kocman told News5 that the EPA has bumped up it's timeline and is now recommending a cleanup plan to start next year. 

"We will see action within the next year, 2018, where they will be in the neighborhood cleaning up the yards, and that will have such a positive impact on our neighborhood and the vision that people have of our neighborhood."

It's a project he says will take five years or less, and could cost up to $44 million. 

"It has provided a cleanup level that we are certain that we will be in a safe, healthy environment."

For neighbor Ray Krasobic...he doesn't have a problem with the lead.

"That's been a vitamin for people because everybody in this neighborhood lives to be old age," said Krasobic who doesn't care what happens. 

"If they want to spend money...I think they're just wasting a bunch of money myself...it hasn't affected me at all."

There may be different opinions about the Superfund site, but Kocman says either way it's a big deal for Pueblo to have millions of dollars of federal money coming to the city.

"We in the neighborhood are just excited that we're seeing some action being taken so that we can have a positive outlook on things now."

Kocman told News5 that about 550 homes in Pueblo have already been tested and another 1,900 homes are part of the preliminary study area. 

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