Report: The most environmentally impacted urban area in the country includes Globeville, Elyria-Swansea, RiNo

North Denver’s zip code 80216, covering some of the city’s most developing and gentrifying areas, scored high in a Pollution Impact Index created by ATTOM Data Solutions.

The research company to analyse the presence of old industrial sites, including “Superfund” sites, and of existing polluters in the postal codes of more than 1,000 homes. North Denver has earned its place in large part thanks to existing polluters and Superfund sites.

Overall, the region’s air quality ranked moderately well. However, it should be noted that most rankings (apart from air quality) are not based on measurements of actual exposure to these pollutants. Instead, it shows that this is an area that still struggles with a long industrial legacy.

The area, which includes Globeville, Elyria-Swansea and parts of River North, historically housed smelters and other polluting industrial functions. It includes two Superfund sites – the Chemical Sales Co. website, where chemicals were stored and repackaged, and the old smelting center in Boulevard Vasquez and highway 70.

A “Superfund” designation means that the government strives to minimize or eliminate environmental risks at a site. However, the Environmental Protection Agency also listed 23 active polluters in the area for 2015.

This long history of environmental impact, which we’ve detailed in previous reports, is one reason area residents want to see Interstate 70 moved from the region rather than widened.

It should also be noted that the South Platte River has undergone a significant transformation in recent decades. Denver hopes to make it safe for swimmers in the next few years.

Pollution of North Denver in 1889. 38th and Blake is center-right.  (Library of Congress)

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