From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):
Denver Water and environmentalists on Wednesday demanded an aggressive cleanup to protect public health. They say drinking water is safe because water treatment plants remove uranium. State natural resources and health regulators are reviewing a cleanup proposal that Cotter submitted eight days ago. Cotter’s proposed options include:
• Rerouting Ralston Creek through pipes around the mine. This could harm aquatic life but prevent contamination from reaching Denver Water’s Ralston Reservoir.
• Creating an artificial wetland that gradually could filter out uranium. Critics said this could be too slow.
• Installing a barrier to filter the uranium from water before it gets to the creek or groundwater.
• Digging out toxic soil 20 feet deep at the mine and hauling it to a disposal site. That remedy may depend on whether groundwater links to the mine, more than 2,000 feet deep…
“If we can demonstrate there’s no communication between the mine pool and the groundwater that results in a measurable impact, then we may not have to do anything with the mine pool,” Cotter vice president John Hamrick said. “We all agree there’s a problem. We’re working to address it.”[...]
“If (Cotter’s proposal) is determined to be deficient, (state regulators) will ask for the deficiencies to be corrected,” Colorado Department of Natural Resources spokesman Theo Stein said. State inspectors documented contamination in 2007, records show. They negotiated with Cotter, which argued that the mine was not a facility subject to state law. The law was changed in 2008 to include uranium mines. In 2009, regulators rejected Cotter’s initial cleanup plan as inadequate…
Denver Water officials are waiting for results from water tests done last week at Ralston Creek and Ralston Reservoir, spokeswoman Stacy Chesney said. “The faster the parties can agree on a plan, the better it will be for everyone,” she said.