Mining town emerging from Superfund cleanup with optimism

Posted at 3:29 PM, Sep 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-18 17:29:18-04

IDAHO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- A creek in the mountains west of Denver used to turn yellow with toxic waste gurgling from abandoned mines, but after a $62 million Superfund project, it now runs clean and clear.

Clear Creek in Idaho Springs has become a draw for anglers, rafters and even real estate investors. It's also a source of encouragement for Silverton, another Colorado town facing a long cleanup.

But some Idaho Springs residents warn that getting through the cleanup was wrenching, especially in the early years.

They say the outside world wrongly thought the entire town was contaminated, and its reputation and economy suffered. Some people also complained that federal officials didn't pay much attention to local opinions and expertise.

But even these critics said the overall results were good, for the most part.


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