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Portions of Rocky Mountain Arsenal deleted from Superfund

Release Date: 1/15/2004
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      Denver -- The Environmental Protection Agency today announced the National Priority List (NPL) partial deletion of the Selected Perimeter Area (SPA) and the Surface Deletion Area (SDA) of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (RMA). The NPL deletion is the last step in the process to remove from the federal Superfund program areas that no longer pose a significant threat to human health or the environment.

      A total of 4,927 acres of approximately 17,000 acres at the RMA will now be available for the U.S. Army to transfer to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service according to the 1992 RMA National Wildlife Refuge Act.

      “Establishment of the RMA National Wildlife Refuge will create a major asset for the Montbello and Commerce City communities as well as the greater Denver-metropolitan area,” said EPA Assistant Regional Administrator, Max Dodson.

      The areas being deleted also include 100-foot-wide strips immediately inside the RMA boundary along 96th and 56th Avenues, and Highway 2 for conveyance to State or local government to improve traffic flow and access to the Denver International Airport.

      The deletion of the SPA and the SDA from the NPL is the result of years of work cleaning up contaminated water as well as the on-site disposal of soil and structures. EPA announced the proposed NPL deletions July 28, 2003, and held a public meeting August 5. The final Notices of Partial Deletion were published in the Federal Register today.

      Both the Army and EPA conducted extensive studies of the SPA and SDA areas. The data from these studies allowed the Army and EPA to identify areas that presented a potential health risk to humans and wildlife. Four separate soil projects were completed to eliminate contamination sources from the SPA and SDA areas.

      Structures with no future use and potential contamination history were demolished and the debris placed in the on-site RMA double-lined landfill. Long-term management activities will exclude the following uses: surface and groundwater as a source of potable water; agricultural, industrial and residential use; and consumption of fish and game.

      The RMA, located 10 miles northeast of downtown Denver, Colorado, is one of the largest Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act cleanup sites in the country. In 1942, the RMA was established by the U.S. Army to manufacture chemical warfare agents and incendiary munitions for use in World War II. Beginning in 1946, the facility was leased to private companies to manufacture industrial and agricultural chemicals.

      RMA was listed on the Superfund NPL in 1987. The cleanup is expected to be completed by 2011.