San Juan County has received a $200,000 grant from the Colorado Brownfields Foundation to fill the two huge holes left at the former Walsh-Rose Smelter site following the environmental cleanup this summer.
The grant will also be used to complete the weather-proof and erosion-proof capping structure for the containment area.
County Administrator Willy Tookey said there is no county match requirement for the grant. The project will be put out to bid, and Tookey said the work will likely have to wait until next spring.
This will clear the way for streets, and water and sewer lines to be installed next year as the site is converted to a workforce housing community. The county has already been offered a grant of $400,000 from the Department of Local Affairs to develop infrastructure for the proposed Anvil Mountain workforce housing project.
Tookey said the county will chip another $125,000 in funding, and some $319,400 of in-kind work for the infrastructure.
The final confirmation samples on the site have confirmed that the residential areas and proposed roadway areas have reached the stringent Environmental Protection Agency and Colorado Department of Public Health standards for residential use, said Karen Hoskin, executive director of San Juan Development Agency.
The town of Silverton’s Bear Creek raw waterline, which was re-routed around the site, has been officially tied in at its new location.
The project also received final “Voluntary Clean-up” approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. In this approval, the state certifies that the methods used in the clean up were sufficient to meet the high standards for residential development.
According to Mark Rudolph of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the site clean-up “will attain a degree of cleanup and control of hazardous substances and gases such that the property does not in any way present an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment based on the property’s proposed future use, which is residential.”
The Walsh Smelter/Anvil Mountain site was also one of three national projects to be profiled on the Web site of the Environmental Protection Agency at www.epa.gov/brownfields.
But the project has come under fire locally, as the scope of the environmental cleanup increased dramatically, causing costs to escalate and repeated delays in getting homes built.