Feb 08, 2021

Colorado Reaches Multimillion-dollar Landfill Cleanup Deal

An agreement has been reached about the Larimer County landfill cleanup in Colorado.


colorado water

Colorado’s Fort Collins, Larimer County and Loveland have reached an agreement on who will pay for environmental cleanup at the Larimer County landfill. 

According to The Coloradoan, contaminants have been leaching into surrounding groundwater and surface water for decades at the Larimer County landfill.

The landfill was built in the 1960s and a plume of contaminants from buried waste has reached groundwater and surface water surrounding the 180-acre site between Fort Collins and Loveland, reported The Coloradoan. 

The county, Fort Collins and Loveland co-own the landfill.

According to officials, the contaminants of concern have not reached any drinking water sources.


The county submitted a draft assessment of corrective measures plan to the state in late December. The county and cities made the intergovernmental agreement for payment public in December, according to The Coloradoan. 

The intergovernmental agreement directs the county to pay the first $3 million of remediation costs and all closure and post-closure expenses.

Then, remediation costs beyond $3 million will be split 60%/30%/10% among the county, Fort Collins and Loveland respectively, reported The Coloradoan. The city of Fort Collins will also start paying tip fees for municipal waste from city departments that it self-hauls to the landfill.

The remediation work will not progress until Colorado’s Department of Public Health and Environment approves the assessment of corrective measures, however, reported The Coloradoan.

The cleanup strategies that are being considered include: monitoring natural attenuation; groundwater diversion strategies; measures to control the sources of the contaminants; phytoremediation; and spot treatments using chemicals.

Several chemicals have been discovered leaching from the landfill, including trachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE). These contaminants likely came from degreasing solvents, dry cleaning agents and paint removers that were dumped in the landfill in the 1960s and early 1970s, according to county staff, reported The Coloradoan. 

A newer contaminant that was discovered is 1,4 dioxane. Officials first discovered 1,4 dioxane contamination in groundwater near the landfill in 2017, reported The Coloradoan. 

Two plumes of groundwater contamination stretch off the landfill site and into portions of Fort Collins’ Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, according to officials. Officials also discovered intermittent surface water pollution from the landfill in Fossil Creek and Smith Creek.

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