Two U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Legacy Management (LM) sites in Colorado have been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as models for reuse of contaminated land.
U.S. EPA recognized LM’s Rocky Flats, Colorado, Site and Las Colonias Park with National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse Awards. The awards, announced on May 13, highlight the significant accomplishments of federal agencies, states, Tribes, local partners, and developers in restoring and reusing contaminated land at federal facilities.
LM's Rocky Flats Site, Colorado, won in the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) category, and Las Colonias Park won in the Non-NPL category.
“We are humbled to be recognized by the U.S. EPA with these esteemed awards. Our remediation efforts were a catalyst, but it also took vision and commitment from the community to turn these properties into valuable resources,” LM Director Carmelo Melendez said. “These sites demonstrate the importance of DOE’s work and how cooperation and communication with State, Local and Tribal communities can generate opportunities for smart reuse.”
The Rocky Flats site was originally a nuclear weapons production facility during the Cold War. After nuclear weapons production ended, DOE completed an accelerated 10-year, $7 billion cleanup of chemical and radiological contamination.
In 2001, Congress passed the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act of 2001, creating the 5,200-acre federally protected Refuge that is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Refuge now restores and preserves native ecosystems, while providing habitat for migratory and resident wildlife, and recreational opportunities for surrounding communities.
“We are proud of our work that created a safer environment and helped shape this valuable resource,” said Andy Keim, LM’s site manager for Rocky Flats.
The Las Colonias Park Site, located along the Colorado River and part of Grand Junction’s city park network, is a former uranium processing facility that was transformed into a multi-use park that includes a 15-acre business zone, 5,000-seat amphitheater, riverfront park, boat ramp, trails, and an arboretum.
The park provides a destination for walking and biking along the river and has become a catalyst for redevelopment in the surrounding area. Retail and restaurant development is underway.
“Las Colonias Park is a wonderful example of revitalization that supports the city’s urban and recreational development through cooperation with the local stakeholders and the private sector to benefit the local community,” said Joyce Chavez, LM’s Reuse Asset manager.
Besides the two DOE LM sites, U.S. EPA also recognized a business and technology park in Rome, New York that was a former Air Force Base (Superfund NPL BRAC Award) and a multi-use park in Key West, Florida that was a formal Naval Air Station (Non-NPL BRAC Award).
Learn more about the 2021 EPA National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse Awards.