EPA adds funding for Smelter Superfund site cleanup, speeds up process

Posted at 8:01 PM, Jul 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-06 22:01:40-04

The EPA announced they will be providing more funds to cleanup the Smelter Superfund sites in Pueblo.

At a public meeting on Friday, the EPA announced another $75 million will go towards cleanup efforts, essentially cutting the projected completion time in half.

With previous funding, the cleanup of more than 800 homes contaminated with lead and arsenic was expected to take more than a decade.

But, thanks to that extra money, it’s now a projected five-year plan.

EPA’s region administrator Doug Benevento delivered the news in person to demonstrate the EPA’s commitment to these cleanup efforts.

"After visiting the neighborhood in February, I went back and talked to the administrator of EPA and said we should accelerate funding for this neighborhood for public health reasons," said Benevento.
"He agreed and so we then found the money."

The announcement is giving residents like Joe Kocman hope that an end is in sight.

"Well this is terrific, this process just guarantees that we will be back to normal and that our children and our families will be safe more expeditiously," said Kocman.

Affected residents also got the chance to share how the cleanup is impacting their yards.

Many said the EPA’s move to replace their backyard’s sod with seed has resulted in a more barren-looking lawn since it takes a while for seed to sprout.

If you’re an affected resident who couldn’t make today’s meeting, there will be another open-house meeting happening Thursday, August 16 at 7:30 p.m. at NeighborWorks Southern Colorado.

There, the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment will also be offering blood lead testing on-site.