Watch CBS News

Soil Around Rocky Flats Tested For Radiation

JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) - For the first time in 13 years, the soil in and around the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons site is being tested for radiation. It is being done to see if the area is safe to build new trails to connect to the Rocky Mountain Greenway which will stretch from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in northeast Denver all the way to Rocky Mountain National Park in the mountains outside of Estes Park.


ROCKY FLATS SOIL TESTING 6PKG.transfer_frame_951

"We are sampling soil every two inches up to a foot deep," Megan Carroll of Engineer Analytics told CBS4.

ROCKY FLATS SOIL TESTING 6PKG.transfer_frame_1695

It may just be dirt, but this has been controversial dirt for decades.

It is around here where Rocky Flats once stood. The nuclear triggers were created there for hydrogen bombs.

ROCKY FLATS SOIL TESTING 6PKG.transfer_frame_492
(credit: CBS)

The radioactive contamination may have spread into the ground.

Carroll explained, "The top layer could be from a different type of contamination, the dust settling."

They want to see how far down the contamination goes. They are measuring for radioactive chemicals like uranium, and plutonium.

ROCKY FLATS SOIL TESTING 6PKG.transfer_frame_2317

Even after a multi year clean up there have been those who claim the land dangerous. Roy Laws in an environmental engineer with the Jefferson County Health Department overseeing the tests.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and we all try to gather the facts best we can and to understand the risks associated with the decisions that we make," he told CBS4's Rick Sallinger

The buffer zone of the nuclear site is now the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. It may be beautiful, but there are those who want more science not speculation.

ROCKY FLATS SOIL TESTING 6PKG.transfer_frame_1981

"I think as long as human beings will be creative minds that want to create controversy. I don't think it will put it to rest," he said, adding that he looked forward to using the refuge.

The results from the 300 samples will be compared to results from the past. The results may determine the safety of creating more hiking trails where weapons of mass destruction were once made.

ROCKY FLATS SOIL TESTING 6PKG.transfer_frame_2005

The area where the Jefferson Parkway is being planned is also being tested for contamination from Rocky Flats.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.