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Early Pueblo Superfund planning moving too slowly for homeowners

By Joe Dominguez, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau , j.dominguez@krdo.com
Published On: Feb 28 2014 08:17:22 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 28 2014 09:06:04 PM CST

Homeowners in Pueblo's Eilers neighborhood are looking to the EPA for answers as Superfund process begins.

PUEBLO, Colo. -

Even though time tells us the Superfund cleanup process can stretch years or decades, Eilers neighborhood homeowners want answers now.

"Were not even a Superfund site and I've already seen the effects of it," said David Webb, an Eilers homeowner and realtor. 

Webb said the fact that the Environmental Protection Agency is now involved in lead contamination evaluation and cleanup from long-closed smeltering operations has kept people from listing their homes and selling it at full market price.

Neighbors are also frustrated by a slow start to the work that needs to be done. The first meeting with the EPA was held Wednesday night.

"The EPA has to retest all the sites or yards that  they they did previously but they should have an idea of where they are going to begin," said Webb. "They're not telling us where they're going to begin."

Because that location is still undetermined, it creates a lot of uncertainty for people both selling homes and looking to buy.

"As a real estate agent I need to tell my clients where  the proposed boundaries so they can know which areas they  want to be in or not be in," said Webb. "At this time, I can't even tell them where the boundaries are because the EPA is not telling the public."

The boundaries will also effect the 3,000 foot buffer zone around a Superfund site that could hold up house sales because home loans may not qualify for federal insurance. According to Webb, each sale would be considered on an individual basis.

He fears that could have an effect on home sales in Bessemer, The Grove and homes around Central High School.

Webb said it's not just the soil that needs to be fixed but several of the dilapidated buildings in the historic neighborhood.

"While we're being stigmatized, let's do something to help bring those buildings back, not just the yards that the EPA is going to be bringing back but the structures  themselves," said Webb.

Webb said he's also like to see the test results on those blood tests released to the public now that the Superfund process is underway.

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