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Old 12-24-2017, 11:43 AM
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I am considering a move to Durango, Colorado. I have a potential job, a subdivision I am excited about, and love the idea of making exploring the San Juan mountains a part of my life. However, I am eco-minded and have recently been concerned about environmental factors in the Durango area such as radioactivity, heavy metals in the river, and general mining environmental havoc from the historic mining through to the clean up efforts in the 1990s. Should I avoid housing within a certain distance to where they have buried the uranium mine tailings? How is the drinking water? Do the people of Durango worry about such things? Perhaps I am just making up this issue in my mind, and I’m guessing I need a reality check from locals. I have lived in Flagstaff before and it is still an option for my family as well. I’m fully aware of housing costs, limited job options, etc. in Durango.

Last edited by Coolwestgal; 12-24-2017 at 11:49 AM.. Reason: Added state to town for clarity
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Old 12-24-2017, 01:02 PM
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Yes, there are a range of environmental issues in area including an ozone hole, water salinity / gas contamination in spots, high UV, forest fire threats and the other stuff you mentioned. Some things you can avoid or minimize, some you can't but you are ahead in thinking about them. There are positives too associated with the wild and diverse geography. You could check out this group for more info or to help: Home - San Juan Citizens Alliance Other groups around too, this one has a broader agenda and bigger membership than most.

Last edited by NW Crow; 12-24-2017 at 01:13 PM..
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Old 12-25-2017, 11:16 AM
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The uranium tailings issue isn't discussed much. Maybe it was / is by old-timers but not newcomers. https://durangoherald.com/articles/37870
Clean up may have been best they could do when they got around to it but the tailings went lots of places with the wind and earlier uses / burials.

The threat is probably worse on area / regional hiking trails and rivers in CO & Utah where it was dug up / leeches out and generally was not treated than in town Durango where it was dealt with eventually but it probably isn't really zero there either.


Superfund sites are lots of places, well known and not. https://www.epa.gov/superfund/search...where-you-live
Overall Durango is not high on the list for quantity and severity (now). Flagstaff ranks higher than Durango on Superfund activity but both are better than national average.

Last edited by NW Crow; 12-25-2017 at 11:37 AM..
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Old 12-26-2017, 11:28 PM
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Thank you very much NW Crow for the information and links! I'm glad to hear that Durango locals aren't overly concerned with the uranium taiiings at this time at least, although it sounds like the historic mining issues will always be an issue there.

I'm not seeing Flagstaff's Superfund sites on your search (I looked through the entire Arizona list on the EPA link and see only a Havasupai and Cameron Superfund sites which are quite far away in Coconino County).

On the bright side, I think living admidst these issues is one reason Durango has robust environmental advocacy groups and non-profits.
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Old 12-27-2017, 08:11 PM
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If you come to Durango you'll probably already be in upper tier of environmental awareness. Some people may see runners, hikers, bikers, kayakers and infer environmental rosiness.

The superfund sites in Flagstaff area may indeed be mainly in county. Props for looking. I'll send you a link by private message that I can't post that explains why I said what I did.

There has been broad concern over the dramatic event of mine waste runoff into the Animas River. There was little awareness or concern about the chronic, steady slow runoff before that, for about 120-140 years. But it will probably get better. Maybe worse again now & then. Threats remain. Plenty to work on.

Last edited by NW Crow; 12-27-2017 at 08:20 PM..
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