Cotter Plans to Close Toxic Mill Site

The operator of a uranium mill that contaminated groundwater and soil at Cañon City has indicated that it will be shut down rather than refurbished.

Cotter Corp. has informed regulators it will close two toxic-waste impoundment ponds at the mill “as soon as reasonably achievable,” according to a letter Cotter sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Cotter, which had previously said the mill would be reopened, now has told state regulators it will stop testing for radon emissions at the site because it is “no longer an active facility” subject to regulation.

The apparent reversal, and Cotter’s decision to stop testing for radon emissions, caught local leaders by surprise. The site has been designated a polluted Superfund site and Cotter has been responsible for monitoring to make sure cancer- causing radon was not escaping the facility.

Fremont County Commissioner Mike Stiehl questioned whether Cotter can stop tests. “That doesn’t sound right to me.”

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