A former metal processing plant or smelter site, is posing serious health concerns for a Pueblo neighborhood and now the Environmental Protection Agency is asking for community input.
The EPA previously conducted testing on yard soils near the ex-smelter site. They found high levels of both arsenic and lead in that area which can cause cancer and other dangerous health problems. Now the site may be listed for federal clean-up. The former smelter site is located between I-25 and Sante Fe Avenue in Pueblo. In the early 1900s there were 5 smelter sites in and around Pueblo that produced 2000 tons of metal daily. The sites have been shut-down but on Monday the EPA held a public meeting to discuss the clean up. The health department is also involved and helped to address the public's questions.
“First and foremost are we going to get sick? There are some really serious negative health affects. Also, very important, will my property value go down? Will I have trouble selling my house? What about the businesses here. These are all very valid concerns and questions,” said Jeannine Natterman with the Colorado Department o f Public Health.
The EPA would like to propose the smelter site to be placed on the National Priority list by this September. Once it’s on the list they would have enough resources for the clean up so that no money would be required from the community. The EPA says its still very early in the process.
Another public meeting is scheduled for Tuesday night, June 12 at 6 pm at the Neighbor Works site on Routt Avenue in Pueblo.