Xcel to pay Boul­der $3.6M to clean site

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Alex Bur­ness

Boul­der and Xcel En­ergy have avoided trial re­lated to a law­suit the city filed this sum­mer in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Den­ver, as the two sides agreed to a set­tle­ment that will see the com­pany pay Boul­der $3.6 mil­lion for re­moval of dan­ger­ous chem­i­cals in the 13th Street Plaza.

The City Coun­cil ap­proved the set­tle­ment in the law­suit, filed in July, late Tues­day night. It is un­re­lated to Boul­der’s on­go­ing bid to sep­a­rate from Xcel and form a mu­nic­i­pal elec­tric util­ity.

From 1902 to 1952, the prop­erty sur­round­ing 13th Street and Canyon Boule­vard was owned by the Fed­eral Gas Co., which op­er­ated a coal gasi­fi­ca­tion plant that pro­duced fuel for heaters and lanterns.

The plant, which was owned by the Pub­lic Ser­vice Co. of Colorado, an af­fil­i­ate of Xcel En­ergy, was torn down by the early 1960s, then used mainly for park­ing un­til Boul­der started re­de­vel­op­ing it in 1995.

Po­ten­tial haz­ards on the site weren’t pub­licly dis­cussed for decades, but six mon­i­tor­ing wells in­stalled in 2010 re­vealed the pres­ence of ben­zene and naph­tha­lene.

These chem­i­cals are com­mon byprod­ucts of coal gasi­fi­ca­tion.

Ben­zene can dam­age the im­mune sys­tem and cause cancer. It can also stop pro­duc­tion of red blood cells, lead­ing to ane­mia. Naph­tha­lene also can lead to ane­mia and dam­age to the liver, and can cause neu­ro­log­i­cal dam­age in in­fants.

Ac­cord­ing to city staff, to­tal cur­rent and fu­ture costs re­lated to the nec­es­sary cleanup at the 13th Street Plaza — best known to­day for the Dushanbe Tea­house — to­tal about $5 mil­lion.

Though $3.6 mil­lion is shy of that to­tal, lit­i­ga­tion costs could have been as high as $1 mil­lion had Boul­der gone to trial, City At­tor­ney Tom Carr said.

“My es­ti­mate is that we would not see a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the net re­cov­ery” if the city went to trial and won, Carr told the coun­cil.

It seemed coun­cil mem­bers were con­vinced, as Carr’s case was fol­lowed by no de­bate and a swift, unan­i­mous vote.

Xcel En­ergy of­fered a state­ment Tues­day night on the set­tle­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.