Hundreds of drums filled with toxic waste in Erie, Colorado have held up the construction of about 600 homes scheduled to be built in a proposed subdivision at the intersection of Weld County Roads 5 and 6.
When doing a site review experts eventually found contamination due to more than a thousand barrels of waste buried back in the 1960’s. The waste is reported to be from Boulder’s IBM plant as a result of magnetic tape production which was legally entombed at the 300 acre brownfield site by a company called Sanitation Engineering.
The permit for this landfill (called the Neuhauser Landfill) was revoked by Weld County back in 1969 due to improper operating practices. While IBM may be held responsible for some of the cleanup, workers have found other barrels discarded at the site which are unlabeled, as well as additional waste of unknown origin.
The EPA and CDPHE has been supervising a company called Geosyntec, hired by developer Richard Dean, to remove dirt, discarded drums of waste and drum fragments since early December 2017.
Hazmat suits and heavy machinery are on scene in force and workers have found mostly industrial solvents such as trichloroethylene, and 2-Butanone; both considered to have significant health risks.
15 to 20 workers will remain on site and continue to remove drums and waste for about two more weeks. Drums that still contain liquid waste will go to an incinerator in Nebraska, and empty drums will go to the Front Range Landfill at 1830 County Road 5 in Erie, just north of the now defunct Neuhauser landfill.
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