U.S. Water News Online
DENVER -- The Justice Department and Environmental
Protection Agency said the city and seven companies have agreed to
pay $13.9 million in disputed costs owed the federal government for
cleanup at the Lowry Landfill Superfund site.
The agreement, which settles a three-year legal battle, also
requires Denver and the companies to continue cleanup of the 508-acre
site, a former bombing range later turned into a landfill.
Maintenance and cleanup costs are expected to total $43 million over
the next 30 years at Lowry, one of the country's largest Superfund
The agreement also settles a countersuit filed by the city and
other defendants on how best to clean up the site, said Nancy
Severson, Denver's manager of environmental health.
The federal court in Denver still must consider approving the
The Justice Department and EPA will be able to recover federal
money that can now be spent at other sites, said Kelly Johnson,
acting assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's
environment and natural resources division.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit in 2002 naming Denver, the
landfill's owner, and Waste Management of Colorado Inc., the
Also named were six companies the federal government said dumped
hazardous waste at Lowry: Chemical Waste Management Inc., Adolph
Coors Co., Conoco Inc., the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District,
Roche Colorado Corp. and S.W. Shattuck Chemical Co. Inc.
Jessie Goldfarb, senior enforcement attorney with the regional EPA
office in Denver, said the city and other defendants were cleaning up
the site under an order issued in December 1994. The government sued
in 2002 to recover past costs.
Lowry was an Air Force bombing range from the 1930s until 1966,
when it was turned over to Denver and used as a landfill. Federal
officials said about 138 million gallons of liquid industrial waste
and 6 million to 10 million tires were dumped in the landfill until
The site, about 15 miles southeast of downtown Denver in Arapahoe
County, was placed on a priority list of the country's most
contaminated toxic waste sites in 1984.
Shaun Sullivan, an assistant city attorney, said some 200
companies that dumped waste at the landfill have agreed to contribute
money for the cleanup under an agreement reached in the early 1990s.
Denver's portion of the cleanup costs are about 10 percent, he said.
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