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Department of Energy

The cleanup of Rocky Flats was enormously complex. Cleanup included decontaminating and demolishing more than 800 buildings and facilities, shipping 21 metric tons of weapons-grade material, 100 metric tons of plutonium, and 275,000 cubic meters of radioactive wastes to off-site disposal sites, and remediating 360 individual sites containing hazardous materials. 

The cleanup project, which took 10 years and cost $6.9 billon, was completed in October 2005 and was certified as complete by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in 2007. While cleanup significantly reduced the risks associated with nearly 50 years of weapons-production activities, low levels of residual contamination remain that require on-going management by the Department of Energy (DOE).

The majority of Rocky Flats is now a national wildlife refuge. In accordance with “The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge Act of 2001” administrative jurisdiction over Rocky Flats transferred to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) except those lands that require ongoing management to ensure the cleanup remedies remain protective of human health and the environment. Subsequent legislation addressed active mining claims.

Transfer occurred in June 2007. DOE retained 1309 acres plus 929 acres of active mining claims; 3953 acres were transferred to USFWS.

DOE’s Office of Legacy Management is responsible for the long-term management of DOE lands. Legacy Management’s responsibilities include:

  • Conducting surface water and groundwater monitoring;
  • Conducting periodic inspections of the monitoring systems and landfill caps, and repairing and upgrading the systems as necessary;
  • Working with USFWS on restricting access to lands retained by DOE;
  • Managing records; and,
  • Administering retiree benefits.

For more information on DOE’s ongoing management program, please go to: 

For more information on USFWS’ management of The Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge, click here