Press Release - Return to Nature Funeral Home

 Otero County Landfill Incorporated Logo    


April 1, 2024

Re: Press Release, Return to Nature Funeral Home

Otero County Landfill Inc (OCLI) is honored to be able to accept the demolition debris from the tragic event that took place at Return to Nature Funeral home.  OCLI hopes to help bring some closure and relief to the many families who have had to suffer through this horrible ordeal.

OCLI would like to clear up some misconceptions and rumors concerning the debris.  Listed below are some of the actions and safety protocols that are in place most of which are far more stringent than normal due to the sensitive nature of this project:

The EPA will be conducting a demolition of the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose, Colorado, pursuant to a request from the State of Colorado and Fremont County.  The cleanup will be conducted under the direction of EPA’s Emergency Response personnel and its trained hazardous materials contractors. EPA, CDPHE and OCLI uniformly agree that there is no health risk to the public based on the safety measures in place for demolition, transport, and disposal. All health and safety measures put in place for this removal action adhere to rigorous and stringent protocols to safeguard both workers and the community to ensure complete protection of public health and environment. 

The EPA removal action will remove the building and dispose materials from inside the building. The demolition debris will include materials used in constructing the building such as roof tiles, stucco, drywall, and similar construction materials. The inside of the facility was already largely cleaned of residues during the law enforcement investigation.

During the removal process, a disinfectant will be applied inside the building prior to and during demolition.  The disinfectant is a mixture of peroxyacetic acid and hydrogen peroxide and is commonly used in a variety of industries for disinfection purposes. The disinfectant may have an odor of vinegar.  Additionally, an odor suppressant may be used on the building material debris during demolition. 

The building materials will be loaded into double-lined end-dump trucks and the liners will be sealed so that each load is double-bagged and fully contained prior to transport. This is similar to how building debris is double-bagged for disposal when it contains friable asbestos.  The material will be immediately covered with 12” of soil as it arrives at the landfill.

Otero County Landfill Inc. is a regional landfill which, by design, construction, and permitting allows us to accept many types of refuse to include special/contaminated waste.  OCLI serves several counties with typical household waste collection on a daily basis and we have taken special/contaminated waste from all across the state.

OCLI is comprised of 7 board members representing the following entities, Fowler, Manzanola, Rocky Ford, Swink, La Junta, Cheraw, and Otero County Board of County Commissioners.


Thank you,

Danny Chavez

OCLI Board of Directors Chairperson


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