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Great Plains Region
Billings, Mont.
Media Contact:
Peter Soeth
303-445-3615
Mark Andersen
406-247-7610

Released On: February 15, 2008

Reclamation Partners with Lake County, Colorado and other Federal Agencies to Address Public Concerns at Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel
The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that it is working with Lake County, the state of Colorado and other federal partners to take all necessary steps to reduce the perceived risk and the concerns that the residents of Lake County and state of Colorado have expressed regarding the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel.

"Safety is the number one priority for the Bureau of Reclamation," said Reclamation Commissioner Bob Johnson. "We take the concerns that have been raised about the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel seriously and look forward to continuing our work with the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Colorado, Lake County residents and other local officials to address these concerns."

Today, Reclamation made available the unused capacity from its treatment facility at the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel. This available capacity will allow an additional 900 gallons-per-minute to be pumped from the pool of groundwater. Currently Reclamation is treating 1,100 gallons-per-minute and will have the capability to treat a total of 2,000 gallons-per-minute.

The emergency notification system at the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel will be tested next week in coordination with Lake County Emergency Services. This exercise will test the warning sirens that enhance notification of East Fork residents in the event of an emergency.

Since November, Reclamation has been developing a risk assessment to evaluate any potential risks at the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel and Treatment Plant. During the assessment, current data and previous studies will be examined and a slope stability analysis will be conducted at the portal area and other reaches of the Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov.