U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

HTTPS

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Penrose Funeral Home

 
Site Contact:
Joyce Ackerman
Federal On-Scene Coordinator

(ackerman.joyce@epa.gov)

Site Location:
Return to Nature Funeral Home
31 Werner Road
Penrose, CO 81240
response.epa.gov/PenroseFuneralHome

Update April 18, 2024 - EPA contractors transferred approximately 208 cubic yards of building materials off-site for disposal.  To date, a total of  416 cubic yards of building materials have been transferred for disposal.  Prior to demolition and loading, the building materials were treated with dis-infectant.  EPA contractors began removing the building's concrete foundation.

Update April 17, 2024 - EPA contractors transferred approximately 208 cubic yards of building materials off-site for disposal. Prior to demolition and loading, the building materials were treated with dis-infectant.  EPA will continue to transfer materials off-site this week.  Once the building materials have been removed, EPA contractors will remove the building's concrete foundation.

Update April 16, 2024 - EPA contractors completed demolition of the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado.  The building materials have been treated with a disinfectant and will be transported off-site for disposal in the next few days.  Once the building materials are removed, EPA contractors will remove the building’s foundation.  This work is expected to take 10 days, weather depending. 

Penrose Removal Action

EPA will conduct a removal action at the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado, pursuant to a request from the State of Colorado and Fremont County. The demolition will be conducted under the direction of EPA’s Emergency Response personnel and its trained hazardous materials contractors.

EPA, CDPHE and Fremont County uniformly agree that there is no health risk to the public based on the safety measures in place for demolition, transport, and disposal. All health and safety measures put in place for this removal action adhere to rigorous and stringent protocols to safeguard both workers and the community to ensure complete protection of public health and environment.

During the removal process, a disinfectant will be applied inside the building prior to and during demolition. Excavators will first start to break up the building from the top down and remove large pieces of the structure, while working to keep it within the foundation footprint. During this process, EPA will use water and other liquid solutions for dust suppression, but not in quantities that would cause runoff of contamination from the interior of the building to the ground surface outside.

Ground crews will manage building materials to ensure the loading process into the dump trucks is efficient and protective. These materials will be prepared and loaded into trucks in accordance with applicable regulations and landfill requirements. Once the building and concrete foundation slab have been removed, EPA will conduct a shallow surface scrape of soils on the footprint of the building. The soils will be transported to the landfill through the same process as the building materials.

Background

 To address the public nuisance identified at the Return to Nature Funeral Home at 31 Werner Road, Penrose Colorado on October 31, 2023, the Fremont County Board of Health ratified issuance of a legal Public Health Order. Following this Public Health Order, Fremont County and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment requested that the EPA conduct a “removal action” including demolishing and disposing of building materials.

In response to this request, an EPA team and their contractors conducted an assessment of the building on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, to determine EPA’s role and next steps. Personnel entering the building wore protective clothing to protect them from any residual medical or hazardous materials remaining inside the building. There were no risks to the public from these assessment activities.

EPA’s Role in Removal Actions

EPA’s emergency response program responds to oil spills, chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear incidents, including large-scale national emergencies. EPA provides support when requested or when state and local first responder capabilities have been exceeded. Through coordinating and implementing a wide range of activities, EPA conducts removal actions to protect human health and the environment.

In carrying out these responsibilities, EPA coordinates with other federal agencies, states, tribes, and local governments. This coordination is done through On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) who are the federal officials responsible for monitoring or directing responses.