Portal, Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel
Portal, Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel

Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel and Treatment Plant Information

The Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel, or “LMDT,” was purchased by the Bureau of Reclamation from the Bureau of Mines in 1959. Originally, the Tunnel was a potential source of water for the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project. However, poor water quality required that the water be treated before it could be released to the Arkansas River. As a result, Reclamation designed and constructed the LMDT Treatment Plant. It has been safely and effectively treating water released from the Tunnel to the Arkansas River since 1991.

The tunnel is long, stretching southeast under the Town of Leadville and into an area of the Environmental Protection Agency’s California Gulch Superfund Site known as Operable Unit 6. To learn more about the EPA and the California Gulch, please visit their website at http://www.epa.gov/region8/superfund/co/calgulch/index.html.

Throughout its history, Reclamation has performed monitoring and safety studies on the LMDT. The most recent study, completed in the fall of 2008 concluded that the LMDT continues to operate safely.

Last Updated: 3/23/15