Thursday, August 04, 2011

Gillman Colorado Mining Town History

On a very scenic ride from Minturn to Leadville CO there is a small abandoned mining town called Gillman.
Driving on Rte 24 West with Aspens zipping by
Founded in 1886 during the Colorado Silver Boom, the town later became a center of lead and zinc mining in Colorado, centered around the now-flooded Eagle Mine. It was abandoned in 1984 by order of the Environmental Protection Agency because of toxic pollutants, including contamination of the ground water, as well as unprofitability of the mines. It is currently a ghost town on private property and is strictly off limits to the public. At the time of the abandonment, the mining operations were owned by Viacom International.
Main part of Gillman town which was designated an EPA Superfund Site
After the closure of the mine and the abandonment of the town, a 235-acre area, which included 8 million tons of mine waste, were designated a Superfund site by the EPA and placed on the National Priorities List in 1986. According to the EPA, the mining operations left large amounts of arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and zinc in the soil, and led to large fish kills in the Eagle River and threatened drinking water in the town of Minturn downstream on the Eagle River. 

The clean-up plan, implemented beginning in 1988 included plugging and flooding the Eagle Mine, collecting and treating mine and ground water in a new treatment plant, as well as removing, treating and capping the mine waste products. A report by the EPA in 2000 concluded that clean-up operations had substantially reduced public health risks and improved the water quality in the Eagle River. The State of Colorado also has pursued separate parallel efforts at cleanup and has reached agreements with Viacom regarding treatment of the site.
Abandoned homes in the town as they were left decades ago

The main mine production area.

Red Cliff Bridge over the Eagle River on Rte 24

Scenic Area surrounding the town

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