Contractors will begin to remove waste drums beneath Erie’s Neuhauser Landfill — the long-dormant chemical and solid waste depot shut down over operational concerns in the late 1960s — next month, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Work will begin on Dec. 11 and could span the next four to six weeks from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, depending on weather conditions, officials said in an announcement of the project on Monday.
The cleanup comes as a housing boom along the Front Range has driven residential development closer to property near landfills, health officials say.
The site is located at the southwest corner of Weld County Road 5 and Weld County Road 6 in Erie.
The drums in question may contain solvent caused by “poor operating practices that were legal at that time,” officials said.
“Recent environmental site assessments related to potential residential development found soil and shallow groundwater contamination on land to the south of the Old Erie Landfill that could not be attributed to that landfill’s operations,” according to the CDPHE’s environmental records of the property.
“It was determined the chemical waste sent to the Neuhauser Landfill was not disposed of in the Old Erie Landfill but was instead disposed of in two ravines to the south,” it added. Further assessments revealed drums still below ground.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is now requiring the property owner to conduct an interim “time-critical removal action.”
Both the EPA and the state health department will provide oversight for the removal, according to officials, who say that there doesn’t appear to be a risk of exposure or contamination for neighboring homes during the removal process.
During the drum removal work, there will be continuous air monitoring in place, both directly on site and at an established perimeter, according to Erie town officials. Once excavated, the 55-gallon drums will be stabilized and transported to a hazardous waste disposal facility out of state.
Officials will hold a community open house in Erie next month for residents to learn more about the operation prior the removal process.
Source: Erie News