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EPA approves $43 million project for Colorado Smelter site - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

EPA approves $43 million project for Colorado Smelter site

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PUEBLO -

The EPA has signed off on a $43 million dollar clean-up plan for hundreds of homes on the Colorado Smelter site in Pueblo, in the Bessemer and Eilers neighborhoods.

It comes nearly three years after the site was added to the National Priorities list of Superfund Sites.

Over the last few years, the EPA has come out to the Superfund site to test for lead and arsenic in people's yards.

They also tested inside about 25 homes last year.

News5 spoke with an EPA official who said the results they got back from those homes was alarming enough to push them forward with this current clean-up plan they have approved.

Starting in 2018, the EPA will come in--with the permission of the homeowner--and remove contaminated soil, down to a depth of foot and a half from more than 800 homes.

They also plan to remove contaminated dust from inside homes as well.

We spoke with some of the people tonight who had samples taken from their homes and yards, and were told they had no idea this clean-up plan had been approved.

"Well I think it's a good idea to try and expedite the process.  Nothing wrong with that," said Mike Zabalveitia, who lives in the Bessemer area.

"To tell you the truth, I thought it was a done deal.  I thought they came in, did what they had to, and case closed.  So it's good that they're following up on it," he added.

But the EPA plans to start sending out notices, as well as contacting those 800+ property owners between now and January 1st, to let them know about the clean-up--which is being called the interim "Record of Decision."

Specifically, the homes they'll be cleaning up are ones that show lead levels that are at least 350 parts per million in the soil, or 275 parts per million in the dust that was tested.

And for arsenic, it's an even lower number--61 parts per million in soil or dust.

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