Anvil Points shale waste still being cleaned up

Federal officials are looking to find a place to bury as much as 20,000 cubic yards of waste material from a 1940s-era research project.

The Bureau of Land Management, which is in charge of cleaning up the Anvil Points Oil Shale Research Project located in Garfield County, already has shipped 90,000 cubic yards of material to the Denver-Arapahoe Disposal Site near the Lowry Landfill, bureau spokesman David Boyd said.

Delta County officials had been advised that the material might be sent to a landfill there, but Boyd said that seems unlikely.

“Right now, it’s not looking like it’s going to go to a Western Slope location,” Boyd said Monday. “It’s not economical.”

The material, which is what remained after oil shale was heated in a retort to release a petroleum-like substance, is known in the industry as “spent shale.”

The cleanup of the research facility included a 175,000-cubic yard disposal cell on the site, but officials were aware that it would be too small to take in all the spent shale from the 1940s-era facility, Boyd said.

About 85,000 cubic yards of spent shale remain, and officials believe they can deal with 65,000 cubic yards of it, Boyd said.

That leaves the 20,000 cubic yards for which officials must find a disposal location.

The cleanup is expected to be complete by the end of January, though there will be continued monitoring of the site, Boyd said.

As of November, the cleanup cost $18.7 million.

Money for the cleanup comes from royalties paid on natural gas drilling on the former Naval Oil Shale Reserve, which is administered by the bureau


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