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Nelson Tunnel/Commodore Waste Rock Pile NPL

Site Contact:
Craig Myers


Site Location:
(1 1/2 miles north of)
Creede, CO 00000

The Commodore Waste Rock Dump resulted from various mining operations in and around the Commodore Mine between 1890 and 1960. The unsecured waste rock pile consists mostly of barren and mineralized rock produced during development of the mine adit, the Nelson Tunnel. The major contributor of toxic heavy metals to the down-gradient Willow Creek drainage is discharge water from the Nelson Tunnel adit which is located adjacent to the toe of the pile. surface and subsurface drainage from the pile’s mineralized rock is the second major contributor. EPA took a Removal Action in 2010 to stabilize the waste rock pile. 

The area experienced record snowfall in the winter of 2019, resulting in very high flows in West Willow Creek during run-off. These flows damaged the armor installed in 2010, threatening the historic mine-related structures on the River's left, as well as threatening long-term stability of the waste rock pile. EPA conducted repair work in the Fall of 2021. Photos of the damage, and of this work, are available in the Images Section of this Site.