The Carribeau Mine Site is located in southwestern Colorado, in San Miguel County near Ophir. The Carribeau Mine produced ore, mostly silver and lead, from 1878 to 1936. The main adit of the Carribeau Mine, located at the 13th level, is completely caved. The adit is located on U.S. Forest Service land just a few feet south of the boundary with the private property.
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Carribeau contains approximately 24,000 cubic yards of tailings, ranging in depth from one to five feet, which are exposed at the surface throughout the private property and along the vertically cut riverbank in several areas of Howard Fork, a tributary of the San Miguel River. Exposed tailings are sloughing into the river and, significant metals loading from surface water run-off through the tailings has been documented.
The following removal action is planned to take place to reduce the potential of human exposure to lead and arsenic from contaminated Carribeau Site mine waste/tailings and to mitigate the ongoing significant metals-loading to Howard Fork, to mitigate environmental impacts. The removal action will be conducted by EPA in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service.