The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) will conduct a removal action, as requested by Fremont County and
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to remove and dispose of
medical and hazardous materials from the Return to Nature Funeral Home.
Following the assessment, EPA has determined that demolition of
the building is necessary to safely remove biological and hazardous materials
found in the building. EPA is in the process of developing
a workplan to conduct the demolition in January 2024. Details of the demolition
process, safety measures, and timeframe will be shared publicly once procedures
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. The assessment is complete.
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
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.
Updated: November 29, 2023