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Lowry Landfill Water Treatment Plant Sampling Program

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Lowry Landfill Water Treatment Plant Sampling Program

Study Area: Lowry Landfill Water Treatment Plant The Lowry Landfill Superfund site consists of about 480 acres and is located about 15 miles southeast of downtown Denver, Colorado, in Arapahoe County. The site is in the South Platte watershed and the Denver Basin. The water treatment plant will be at the north end of Lowry Landfill Superfund site.
Period of Project: August 2000 to March 2002
Project Number: CO50301
Project Chief: Cecil Slaughter
Cooperator: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)


The Lowry Landfill Superfund site was used as an industrial and municipal landfill from the 1960's until 1990 by the City and County of Denver (CCD). Millions of gallons of industrial wastes were dumped into unlined pits at this landfill until 1980. These wastes included metal-plating residue, petroleum-based oils, pesticides, industrial and chlorinated solvents, acid and alkaline sludges, low-level radioactive waste, dead animals, and sewage sludge. Lowry Landfill was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1984. The water treatment plant (WTP) at the Lowry Landfill Superfund site will treat inorganic and organic contaminants in ground water, landfill-gas condensate, and water from other incidental sources collected from the industrial and municipal landfill. The WTP will not be capable of removing anions, so treated water will be transferred via pipeline and sewers to the treatments plants of the City of Aurora and Metro Wastewater Reclamation Districts for final treatment of anions. There is public concern that the water leaving the Lowry Landfill WTP may contain radionuclide contamination (specifically Pu-238, Pu239/240, and Am-241) above baseline activities. Because of this concern, Lowry Landfill stakeholders, including the USEPA, determined that the USGS should collect and analyze effluent from the WTP for the presence of select radionuclides.


To determine if selected radionuclides are present in effluent samples collected from the WTP and compare those results to the permit limits established by the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District.

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