On October 12, 2023, a dump truck carrying mine waste materials overturned on Highway 17 (milepost 14) on La Manga Pass, located outside of Antonito, Colorado. The release was reported as 22.5 tons of non-hazardous uranium mine waste with naturally occurring radium 226. Radium 226 is considered an environmental hazard and potentially a hazardous substance. The release occurred in the highway right-of-way and with no observed impacts to waters.
The mine waste material was transported from an Abandoned Uranium Mine Transfer Station on the Navajo Nation as part of a time critical removal action that U.S. EPA Region 9 is conducting at the former Cove Transfer Station (CTS) in Cove, AZ, Navajo Nation.
Because the incident occurred in Colorado, U.S. EPA Region 8 mobilized to the site with an On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) and contractors to provide technical assistance and direction of removal activities. The trucking company transporting the waste, conducted the clean-up and recovery of the spilled materials.
On October 13-14, 2023, U.S. EPA Region 8 completed an assessment of the spill. Response contractors for the trucking company removed
the mine waste materials from the embankment on October 14,
2023. U.S. EPA contractors screened the impacted area for radiation
to confirm completion of the removal. Erosion controls were installed on October 17 and the area was re-seeded.