Valmont Butte - Background Information
The city has posted key information relating to the environmental conditions and activities at the Valmont Butte property on this web page. Please contact Joe Castro at [email protected] or 303-441-3163 to request information not posted. You may also visit the main project page for current information and the project archive for documents related to the project.
Council approved the purchase of the 101-acre Valmont Butte property in 2000 for $2,575,000. The purchase money came from three city funds: Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP), Public Works/Utilities and the General Fund. The Community and Environmental Assessment Process (CEAP) for the Valmont Butte proposals was completed in March 2005, and a final meeting was held with the Community Review Group (CRG) to discuss the CEAP. A formal consultation with several Indian tribes took place April 17-19, 2005.
On May 31, 2005, the City Council met with staff for a study session to provide a thorough briefing on the Valmont Butte proposals, the status of staff efforts to address public issues and concerns, and the next steps in the process leading up to a Council decision. This study session allowed Council to hear from staff about the Valmont Butte proposals, review and respond to the work to date and provide feedback to staff.
On June 14, 2005, a five-board public meeting was held to gather community input for the boards that would consider the proposals at their separate meetings in June and July (Environmental Advisory Board, Open Space Board of Trustees, Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board, Water Resources Advisory Board and Planning Board). This meeting was continued on July 18, 2005.
On Aug. 16, 2005, City Council met and held a public hearing. At that time, Council decided not to pursue a Biosolids Recycling Center and directed staff to return with more information about alternative sites and a funding plan for a Fire Training Center (FTC).
On Feb. 21, 2006, City Council approved building a new fire training center on the Wells site, located at 63rd Street and the Diagonal Highway, on land that was purchased in the 1950s by the Utilities Fund. Council directed that the Valmont Butte property be offered for sale to Trust for Public Land or another buyer. Council also directed staff to sell the Fire and Utilities portions of the Valmont Butte property and try to recover their purchase money. The city attorney advised that since both the Utility Fund and the General Fund were used for the purchase of the Valmont Butte property, these funds should be reimbursed. Additionally, it was determined that the Utilities Fund should be reimbursed for the value of the Wells site that will house the FTC.
There was a Valmont Butte Study Session held on Jan. 30, 2007.
From January 2007 to June 2009, activities on the site included management responsibilities such as: removing graffiti, boarding up buildings, and removing prairie dogs from the tailings pond cap areas. Attempts to relocate the prairie dogs off site did not yield any properties that would accept the prairie dogs. Additionally, the Colorado Division of Wildlife eventually ruled that relocating the prairie dogs off the Valmont Butte site was prohibited due to possible contamination. The city also pursued a different location for citing a fire training center and instituted process changes at the Wastewater Treatment Plant, which reduced the need for a biosolids facility.
Beginning Friday, June 5, 2009, the City of Boulder and its contractor, Casey Resources, Inc., began staking grids on the Valmont Butte property for soil sampling as part of the Colorado Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCUP) application process. The city submitted a revised work plan to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on May 13 and received an approval letter from the CDPHE to go ahead with the volunteer cleanup efforts. The purpose of the work plan is to collect the remaining data necessary to support submittal of a complete VCUP application for a Valmont Butte closure. The work plan calls for additional soil sampling and is responsive to other EPA recommendations for the site.
On Nov. 24, 2009, Casey Resources completed an extensive investigation of the Valmont Butte site on behalf of the City of Boulder. The investigation was completed and sent to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to provide information needed to support a Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCUP) application that was submitted to CDPHE for approval. The report does not contain the large attachments, in order to make it small enough to be downloaded. A copy of the entire report, including all attachments, is available upon request. If you would like a copy of the site investigation report in its entirety, please contact Joe Castro at 303-441-3163 and leave your name, mailing address, and telephone number. The report will be provided on a CD that is mailed to you.
On Aug. 4, 2010, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) approved a Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCUP) application (letter of approval from the CDPHE) submitted by the City of Boulder, proposing a cleanup plan for the Valmont Butte property. The cleanup plan calls for the excavation and consolidation of mining residuals and a cap of clean soil and rock to meet applicable regulatory standards and withstand prairie dog encroachment. A copy of the entire application is available upon request, contact Joe Castro at 303-441-3163 and leave your name, mailing address and telephone number.
- Letter from Casey Resource, Inc. to CDPHE regarding the Voluntary Cleanup Application for Valmont Butte property - Sent to CDPHE on Aug. 30, 2010
- Letter from CDPHE to Casey Resources, Inc. regarding Voluntary Cleanup Plan Approval for Valmont Butte property - Sent to Casey Resources, Inc. on Sept. 1, 2010
On April 5, 2011, the City of Boulder submitted a Limited Impact Special Use Review Application to Boulder County for remediation work on the Valmont Butte property. The proposed work includes earthwork and the demolition of some selected industrial structures associated with the Valmont Butte site remediation project. The remediation will be completed following the Voluntary Cleanup Plan (VCUP), which has been approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The work proposed is detailed in the Limited Impact Special Use Review Application sent to Boulder County. In general, 14 mining residual areas located outside the secondary tailings pond will be excavated and consolidated on the primary tailings pond. Then, the impacted soils in the secondary tailings pond will be moved to the primary tailings pond. The primary tailings pond will be recapped with two feet of clean soil overlain by 1.5 feet of rock. Excavated areas will be filled and revegetated. The excavation will include regrading a portion of the site for proper drainage and the demolition of several buildings. However, the mill building and some adjacent structures are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and those buildings will be protected.
The application documents are available on Boulder County's website.
On June 23, 2011, Boulder County staff submitted its report and recommendation to the Boulder County Commissioners on the city's Limited Impact Special Use Review Application.
In August 2011, the Board of County Commissioners conditionally approved the city's application for a Limited Impact Special Use Review for remediation work that will occur on Valmont Butte. The approval gives the city the authority to go ahead with remediation work on the site as long as some additional steps are taken to preserve specific historic buildings on site.
In October 2011, the City of Boulder, Honeywell International Inc. and Tusco, Inc. reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in the amount of $350,000, to resolve the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) costs for its past investigations at the Valmont Butte.
The City of Boulder also reached settlements with Honeywell and Tusco to resolve their liabilities as past owners and operators of the Valmont Butte mill site. Under those settlement agreements, Tusco's share will be $250,000 and the estimated costs for remediation are expected to be approximately $5 million, which will be split 50/50 between the City of Boulder and Honeywell, with the option to resolve the final damages in an abbreviated, mini-trial process. Honeywell will also be responsible for covering the EPA costs. More information about the settlements with Honeywell and Tusco can be found in an Information Packet memo that went to City Council in October 2011.
In April 2012, in response to questions raised by the Boulder Weekly and other organizations, the city sent an information packet memo to City Council on April 12, 2012.