EPA received a letter of request from the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to investigate legacy
tailings along the San Miguel River on the west side of State Highway 145. This
area is located approximately 3.65 miles west of Telluride in a semi-developed
commercial area and includes the tailings piles on the north and south banks of
the San Miguel River. The mine tailings have deposited along the San Miguel
riverbank and are visibly distinct from the nearby healthy soil with
coloration. There is a municipal baseball field and several businesses within a
half-mile radius of the Site as well as several hiking trails transecting the
Site. The area around the Site is also used for recreation activities such as
fishing and biking.
EPA conducted initial
sampling in Fall 2021 and found elevated levels of lead and arsenic. After
further examination of the samples collected in 2021 EPA decided that more
samples were necessary. EPA has initiated a follow up sampling event and will
begin that process in October 2022.