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Sarah Kanouse, Durango Processing Site Dog Park, 24 May 2014, Flickr


Durango Processing Site

Located on the bank of the Animas River, the Durango processing site is a former uranium-ore processing facility located a quarter of a mile southwest of the city of Durango, Colorado. Uranium from this site, in addition to the uranium from Uravan, was shipped to the refinery in Grand Junction. The Durango Uranium mill was one of two uranium recovery plants in Colorado set up secretly in 1943 to produce uranium for the Manhattan Project. The mine source was near the uranium processing plant, which continued to operate until at least 1963. Milling operations generated over 1 million cubic yards of radioactive tailings; raffinate liquids from these tailings contaminated over 20 acres of the site. Remediation began in 1986 under the federal Uranium Mill Tailings Remediation Action Project. From 1986 to 1991, the Department of Energy removed tailings and other contaminated materials from the Durango processing site and local contaminated properties and stabilized them in a disposal cell located 3.5 miles southwest of Durango. The mill site has been recontoured and seeded with native grasses after removal of the tailings. Some residual contamination was left in place in two regions along the bank of the Animas River. Uranium exceeds Environmental Protection Agency maximum concentration limits in area groundwater.


The Center for Land Use Interpretation. "Durango Uranium Mill Site, Colorado." clui.org. Accessed July 31, 2020.

U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Legacy Management. "Durango, Colorado, Disposal and Processing Sites" Fact Sheet. June 2020. Accessed July 31, 2020.

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