GMUG Seeks Comment on Atlas Mine/Mill and Tailings Removal and Stream Bank Stabilization Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA)

Contact(s): Kim Phillips, Dylan Peters

Public Comment Period: March 5,2020 through April 4, 2020

Delta, Colorado, March 02,2020 – The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests is seeking public comment during a 30-day public comment period on the EE/CA for the Atlas Mill and Tailings site located approximate 7 miles southwest of Ouray on Camp Bird Road. The GMUG is evaluating a non-time critical removal action (NTCRA) to address mill tailings that contain concentrations of metals that may be hazardous to human health and the environment, in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).

The Atlas Mill site features remnants of the historic mill structure on a hillside, an adjacent pile of coarse-grained waste rock, and two distinct fine-grained tailings deposits on the floodplain adjacent to the western side of Sneffels Creek. The tailings are partly located within the riparian wetland associated with Sneffels Creek. Mobilization of these contaminated materials off-site during rainfall or snowmelt events is of concern. The site footprint is approximately 7.5 acres and is largely devoid of vegetation. Assessment efforts have included a site inspection and separate data gap characterization of the former mine and mill areas, including sampling and chemical analyses of tailings, soil, sediment and adjacent streams. The results of these studies are presented in the EE/CA report, along with a human health and ecological risk screening. The objective of the EE/CA is to evaluate and select the removal action alternative that reduces the potential for exposure to acceptable levels, and to reduce the potential for contaminants to migrate or be released.

A public meeting is planned to present the EE/CA report and discuss the removal action alternatives evaluated:

  • Date and Time: March 17, 2020, 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
  • Meeting Location: Ouray County Event Center, 22739 Highway 550, Ridgway, CO (970) 626-3304.
  • The EE/CA report is available for review at:
  • For further information, contact Curtis Cross, GMUG Forest Engineer, 970-874-6667,
  • All comments regarding the EE/CA report must be received by the Forest Service by April 4, 2020.

Comments may be:

  • Mailed to the GMUG Forest Supervisor’s Office, 2250 South Main St., Delta, CO 81416.
  • Delivered to the Forest Supervisor’s Office during business hours, Monday - Friday 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, 1:30 PM to 4:00 PM.
  • Submitted by email to: