City wants more than $1,000 for Valmont documents

Jefferson Dodge | Boulder Weekly

City of Boulder officials want to charge the Valmont cemetery association more than $1,000 for copies of test results and other documents related to the cleanup project in and around the cemetery parking lot.

In a July 27 letter, cemetery preservation spokesperson Carol Affleck and members of the board of directors of the Valmont School District No. 4 Cemetery Association told City Manager Jane Brautigam that it had been more than 13 weeks since Bill Boyes, the city’s facilities maintenance program manager, had promised to provide them with test results for the parking lot. The lot is included in the 103 acres that the city is remediating at the contaminated site.

In their letter to Brautigam, the cemetery representatives renewed their request for test results from the parking lot, which has been the target of some test holes but no widespread excavation.

Curiously, a foot or two of soil has been removed from a large area running along the north side of the cemetery parking lot fence. Since contamination is unlikely to be stopped by a chain-link fence, it raises questions about whether the test results on both sides of the fence are that different.

In addition to the parking lot test results, the cemetery association made a host of other requests in its letter, including that the city:

• remove the orange fence and “no trespassing” signs placed along the cemetery’s chain-link fence;

• provide specifics about the cleanup standards used in determining that contamination levels in the cemetery parking lot did not exceed the threshold that would have prompted excavation;

• provide field sampling and analysis results for the excavated areas adjacent to the cemetery on the north and east sides;

• provide copies of all communications between the city or its consultants and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regarding sampling and analysis for the cemetery parking lot;

• provide all other sampling and analysis results for the entire site.

That last request may have proved too broad, since the city’s facilities and fleet manager, Joe Castro, replied in an Aug. 1 letter that the three batches of test results, sampling and analysis requested would require 30 hours of “research, retrieval and compilation.” At $35 an hour, he wrote, it would cost the cemetery association $1,050 to obtain that documentation.

Not including the 25 cents per page for copies.

Alternatively, Castro said, the group could wait for all sampling results to be compiled at the conclusion of the project in a “Remediation Construction Completion Report,” which will be posted on the city’s website after remediation work is finished in December.

As for the cleanup standards used, Castro referred the group to the city’s Voluntary Cleanup Plan. Regarding the request for correspondence, he said “no such communications have been sent from the city to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.”

He did agree, however, to have the orange fence and signs removed.

Affleck told Boulder Weekly that her organization has no intention of paying more than $1,000 for the documents.

“We are an adjacent property owner,” Affleck told BW this week. “If they were being a good neighbor, they would give us the testing results and explain.”

Neither Castro nor city spokesperson Jody Jacobson replied to a request for comment before press time.

Update: On Aug. 9, Castro sent the following response to Boulder Weekly‘s questions via email:

On the Valmont School District No. 4 Cemetery Association’s request for testing results, the estimated 30 hours of time includes an expert’s time to research, retrieve and compile material responsive to the request and review by the city’s attorneys and communications staff. 

As stated in the letter, the data will be documented and provided in a Remediation Construction Completion Report, when the project is completed.  The City will make that report available to the public on its website at and will provide hard copies upon request at that time.

I received the Association’s July 27 request on Monday, July 30, and responded on Wednesday, August 1.  That is within the reasonable time allowed under the Colorado Open Records Act.

Regarding your other questions, the details of the ongoing voluntary cleanup will be summarized in the Remediation Construction Completion Report, which will be finalized at project completion.

Staff time is currently focused on the clean-up of the site, and as we have indicated before, additional requests and questions require staff and our consultants to take time away from the clean-up. 

The city has spent a considerable amount of time providing the Boulder Weekly with interviews, information, and answers to follow-up questions. Staff will continue to answer your questions to the best of our ability and in a timely fashion, but the city must also be mindful of the amount of resources that are dedicated to additional information and interview requests. 

Joe Castro
Facilities and Fleet Manager