City of Boulder sues Xcel Energy over contamination cleanup at 13th Street Plaza

Cleanup has cost city more than $3M so far

BOULDER, Colo. -- A legal battle is brewing over the cleanup of contaminated land in Boulder and over who should foot the bill. The City of Boulder is suing Xcel Energy in federal court in an attempt to recoup costs related to remediation at the 13th Street Plaza site.

The property in the heart of downtown Boulder was once home to a coal gasification plant. According to the lawsuit, when the city purchased the land in 1975 it had no idea that waste from the plant was abandoned there.

When the contamination came to light, the city developed a plan to clean it up. So far Boulder has spent approximately $3 million on environmental remediation efforts. According to the city, Xcel has contributed a little more than $200,000.

About 12,300 tons of impacted soil and debris were removed from the site, in addition to 3,500 gallons of hazardous sludge and liquid waste.

A spokesperson for the City of Boulder declined to comment further on the litigation.

Xcel Engery released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:

“We have not had a chance to review the complaint in any detail. Environmental stewardship is a core value at Xcel Energy and we take issues of this nature very seriously, as is evident by our track record in addressing environmental concerns. Our approach with these type of sites is to work with the city (or property owners) to properly address the issues in a safe, fair and equitable manner.  At this site, we have in been in discussions with the city, and we hope to continue that dialogue in an effort to reach an amicable resolution.” 

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