Mining firm must identify contaminants in 20 days

A Montrose company was ordered this week to determine what types and quantities of contamination are present at its recycling facility.

Montrose District Judge Jeff B. Herron ordered the Elizabeth Mining and Development Co. to identify contaminants in soils and groundwater within 20 days.

The company also was ordered to submit a detailed report of the findings to the state within
10 days of completing the identification.

“The court’s order indicates there is significant evidence to show Elizabeth Mining and
Development’s business practices have been environmentally irresponsible and incompatible with state law,” Attorney General John Suthers said.

“We look forward to the case continuing to move ahead.”

Elizabeth was ordered in 2006 to identify contamination on the property after state health inspectors found serious hazardous-waste violations, including acids dumped directly onto the ground and the operation of inadequate waste storage tanks.

Owners Steven Casebolt and his late father, Joseph Casebolt, were to cease all hazardous-waste-generating processes until they complied with all hazardous-waste requirements.

The state sued the company in district court, alleging it missed several deadlines in the compliance order and resumed operations before getting permission from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

An inspection of the facility in September 2006 revealed Elizabeth had resumed operations without coming into compliance, authorities said.

Elizabeth Mining and Development has not been allowed to avoid responsibility for its poor business practices, said Gary Baughman, director of the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division of the health department.

The company was assessed an estimated $420,000 in penalties against Steven Casebolt and Shirley Casebolt-Snedden. The state’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Commission will reconsider the penalties May 20 after an administrative law judge ordered them reduced.


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