The Shattuck Chemical site is located in southwest Denver, northeast of the intersection of Evans Avenue and Santa Fe Drive. The site consists of 5.9 acres of land formerly owned by the S. W. Shattuck Chemical Company, a 4.3-acre railroad right-of-way just west of the Shattuck property, and nearby ―vicinity properties bounded by South Broadway Street, South Santa Fe Drive, Evans Avenue, and Iowa Avenue.
The Shattuck Chemical facility operated from 1917 to 1984. The company processed various minerals and other materials, including tungsten and carnotite ores (for uranium and vanadium salts), radium slimes, molybdenum ores, and depleted uranium. These activities resulted in uncontrolled releases of hazardous substances from the site. The Shattuck site is designated as Operable Unit 8 of the Denver Radium Superfund site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed Denver Radium on the National Priorities (Superfund) List on September 8, 1983.
The Shattuck site is located within the drainage basin of the South Platte River, which flows approximately 3,000 feet west of the site. A shallow unconfined aquifer exists beneath the site. The shallow unconfined aquifer is perched on bedrock and merges with the alluvial aquifer beneath the floodplain of the South Platte River. Groundwater in the area of the site generally flows west across the site and then northwest toward the South Platte River. Groundwater contours within the alluvium indicate that west and northwest of the site, the South Platte River is a gaining reach that receives discharge from the groundwater system. Several contaminants including uranium, gross alpha and beta radioactivity, arsenic, cadmium, selenium, molybdenum, other metals, and some organic chemicals were documented in groundwater of the shallow unconfined aquifer beneath the Shattuck site. Some of these contaminants were shown to have infiltrated a storm sewer adjacent to and downgradient from the site, raising concerns that contaminants discharged from the storm sewer outfall had impacted the South Platte River and its natural resources.
The South Platte River provides habitat that supports a variety of migratory birds. Seasonal surveys conducted by the FWS and the Denver Chapter of the Audubon Society along the urban reach of the South Platte River identified more than 30 species of migratory birds including waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds.