Attorney General announces settlements in Lowry Landfill Superfund Site natural resource damages case

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that the state has reached settlement of its natural resources damages claims related to the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site. Settling parties include the site owner, operator and parties who sent waste materials for disposal at the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site. The settlement, lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado for a 30-day public comment period, heads off what was expected to be lengthy and costly litigation to determine to what extent each party was responsible for natural resource damages at the site.

Under the first settlement, the companies and entities that contributed waste materials to the site will be required to pay Colorado a sum totaling more than $1.1 million. The money secured under the settlement will assist the state and its partners to restore state natural resources, and compensate for injuries to the groundwater at the 508-acres site.

“This settlement provides an equitable and appropriate solution to address the injuries at the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site,” Suthers said. “The agreement will allow Colorado to move forward on resource restoration instead of spending years locked in costly litigation.”

A second settlement, between the state and the City and County of Denver, Waste Management of Colorado and Chemical Waste Management, Inc., will require the parties to pay Colorado $500,000. The money from this settlement will be used for a revolving loan fund for low- to middle-income households needing sewer repairs that will, ultimately, help improve groundwater quality in the South Platte River watershed.

Lowry Landfill Superfund Site, located in unincorporated Arapahoe County at 3500 Gun Club Road, was the principal landfill for the Front Range as well as the industrial landfill for numerous Colorado companies. The landfill accepted solid and liquid waste from 1965 through 1980 and solid waste from 1980 until 1990. The Environmental Protection Agency placed Lowry Landfill Superfund Site on its National Priorities List in 1984 and started an investigation into the possible contamination of the site’s soil and ground water. In 1994, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a Record of Decision on the site’s contamination and started to implement its remediation plan, which is ongoing. This settlement is in response to the public’s loss of use of ground water at the site before, during and after the commencement of remediation activities.

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