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Fluvial San Miguel Tailings

Site Contact:
Joni Sandoval
On Scene Coordinator


Site Location:
Lawson Hill Open Space
Telluride, CO 81435

EPA received a letter of request from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) to investigate legacy tailings along the San Miguel River on the west side of State Highway 145. This area is located approximately 3.65 miles west of Telluride in a semi-developed commercial area and includes the tailings piles on the north and south banks of the San Miguel River. The mine tailings have deposited along the San Miguel riverbank and are visibly distinct from the nearby healthy soil with coloration. There is a municipal baseball field and several businesses within a half-mile radius of the Site as well as several hiking trails transecting the Site. The area around the Site is also used for recreation activities such as fishing and biking.


EPA conducted initial sampling in Fall 2021 and found elevated levels of lead and arsenic. After further examination of the samples collected in 2021 EPA decided that more samples were necessary. EPA has initiated a follow up sampling event and will begin that process in October 2022.