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Colorado: Groundwork Denver / Healthy Air for Northeast Denver (A Former EPA CARE Project)

The summary and links below provide a description and documentation of a Denver, Colorado project that received a Level II Cooperative Agreement from EPA’s former Community Action for a Renewed Environment (CARE) Program in 2005. These case studies serve as historic references and conditions since the project was funded may have changed.

The resources developed for this project provide communities with information about ways that other communities have addressed environmental issues. Communities can use these project results to reduce environmental impacts, understand risks and become stewards of their own environment.


Groundwork Denver, Inc.
Healthy Air for Northeast Denver (HAND)
Denver, Colorado
EPA Region 8

Groundwork Denver, Inc., on behalf of the Healthy Air for Northeast Denver (HAND) Partnership, is the recipient of Level II CARE funding. HAND is a collaborative partnership borne out of the Northeast Denver Environmental Initiative, an effort to focus EPA Region 8 resources on NE Denver in response to community concerns regarding disproportionate air quality impacts from industrial and mobile source emissions. Several of the HAND neighborhoods have been classified as Environmental Justice communities. The area also has one active Superfund site, and is undertaking efforts to remediate toxic substances, particularly lead and arsenic, from soils on residential property. More than 25 organizations, businesses and agencies that comprise HAND have agreed to reduce exposure to emissions of toxics with a focus on three priority areas: (1) diesel and stationary sources; (2) indoor air and community involvement, and; (3) land use and transportation improvement and development.

HAND intends to improve public health and the environment in minority and low-income communities by reducing pollutants that emanate from diesel and stationary sources. This project will provide compliance assistance and outreach to two specific sectors in North Denver - small businesses and large businesses with diesel fleets. HAND plans to hold workshops to promote best practices that will reduce emissions in these facilities.

HAND proposes two projects to improve indoor air quality: The Healthy Indoor Air Education and Outreach Project (HIAP), and the 'Breathe Better' Bus. The HIAP educates residents on the issues of immediate health concern that can be addressed at the individual level, such as proper disposal of household chemicals, carbon monoxide poisoning and prevention, fire safety, and pesticide prevention. The Breath Better Bus is a mobile classroom that carries six interactive learning stations to schools, health clinics, community events and corporate health fairs. This bus has been featured in EPA's national report highlighting successful community-based activities.

With respect to land use, HAND will focus on the following projects: a small area plan, healthy living opportunities, and mapping and distributing previously established truck routes within the community. Some of the activities that will be performed include creating recommendations for land use policy implementation that can be easily reviewed by the Denver City Council, identifying appropriate routes for diesel semi-trucks traveling on the interstate, and planning the future direction of the City.

Established CARE Partnership: The scope of the HAND Project includes the neighborhoods of Cole, Clayton, Elyria, Swansea, Sunnyside, Globeville, and Commerce City. In addition to Groundwork Denver, current partners include the American Lung Association, Blue Sun Biodiesel, City and County of Denver (Environmental Health and Planning Depts), Civic Association of Clayton, Colorado Asthma Coalition, Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), CO Dept of Transportation , Colorado People's Environmental and Economic Network, FrontRange Earth Force, Northeast Denver Housing Center, Offices of Councilperson Judy Montero, and Congressional Representative Diana DeGette, Regional Air Quality Council and Suncor Energy.

Read a case study on facilitation assistance provided to this project by EPA’s Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center.

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