Commerce City - North Denver






Commerce City-North Denver


This page has information on projects in Commerce City - North Denver. We want you to know what is happening and how to get involved. We know we work best when we work as partners with local communities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also has a web page about its activities in the community.

Suncor information and ways to get involved

Air permitting

During the Summer of 2022, CDPHE solicited feedback from the public on the draft permit for Plants 1 and 3 at the Suncor refinery in Commerce City. The draft permit includes additional requirements to reduce pollution and protect public and environmental health, such as new monitoring, testing, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements related to air pollution. CDPHE is now reviewing the feedback it received on the permit and working to incorporate that feedback into the draft. Read the permit and related documents.

How to get involved

View the renewal notice for Suncor’s air quality permits and the latest information on the department Suncor air quality permit webpage.  

Water permitting

Suncor has two permits up for renewal in 2021 that limit the pollution it puts into Sand Creek. The new permits must include requirements and limits for these pollutants to protect Sand Creek. It also protects the water for drinking, recreation, and fish. CDPHE wants input from the public on what is necessary for these permits to protect the creek.

How to get involved

Anyone can give input on any part of the permit and we will consider that input when developing the draft permit. Learn about opportunities to provide feedback. As we draft this permit, we want you to have access to staff to understand our decision process and know how your input helped influence the decision.

For more information, visit our Suncor water quality permits webpage or email cdphe.commentswqcd@state.co.us.


Suncor performance analysis

In 2021, CDPHE’s Air Pollution Control Division requested an analysis comparing Suncor’s performance with other refineries nationwide. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency agreed and completed the analysis in June 2023. The analysis is the first of its kind. It examined publicly available data from each refinery for their number of air quality violations and their operating and maintenance practices. CDPHE requested this information to use to encourage Suncor to improve its operations in the future. Read the performance analysis on the EPA’s website.

Supplemental environmental projects

In 2020, a court fined Suncor $9 million for air pollution violations at their facility. The fine is because Suncor was not meeting pollution limits and had other violations since 2017. Part of the penalty required Suncor to fund community projects for more than $2.6 million. A community committee picked five projects that will provide more air monitoring and modeling - plus a lot more - in the areas around Suncor. Most of the projects are being run by community organizations from the area. Read about all the projects here.

For more information, email elizabeth.scherer@state.co.us.


EPA Optimization Report 

EPA recently provided CDPHE with an Optimization Review Report, Remedial Process Optimization Study for the Suncor Commerce City Refinery site. The optimization review is an independent study funded by EPA that evaluates existing data, discusses the conceptual site model, including contaminant distribution and transport, and provides recommendations to optimize the current remedial response and associated site characterization and monitoring. In addition to reviewing the effectiveness of the existing remedy components to address historical hydrocarbon releases, the review focused on data gaps and uncertainties related to PFAS contamination at the site.

Read the report.


Activities in the area

Globeville/Elyria-Swansea health study 

A four-year health study that focuses on health concerns in the communities is underway. A community council guides and gives perspective to the study, and a committee will oversee the study. The selected principal investigator and the team who will conduct the study are based out of Colorado State University. Community meetings are open to the public and are a good way to find out about the study's progress.   

For more information or to find meeting information, visit Colorado Department of Transportation's GES Health Study webpage or email geshealth.steercomm@gmail.com.

Superfund activities

A Superfund site is a place where hazardous waste has been left out in the open, dumped, or improperly managed. There are a few Superfund sites in the area, including Asarco Inc-Globe Smelter and Vasquez Blvd/I-70. The Asarco Inc-Globe Smelter had soil with lead and arsenic that was cleaned up. The Vasquez Blvd/I-70 site had a residential area with lead and arsenic in soils that were cleaned up and has other areas that will be addressed. 

A community group makes suggestions for the Vasquez Blvd/VB I-70 project. The group meets every fourth Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. Email the group's administrator to take part in the meetings.

For more information, visit the resources below or email comments.hmwmd@state.co.us.

Aerial view overlooking downtown denver, I-70, and the train depot in Commerce City-North Denver
James Chance, The Colorado Trust

Activities in the state

Wind turbine and industrial facility in background

State climate change approach

CDPHE worked with government agencies to make a climate change plan. The plan puts in place greenhouse gas pollution targets. It also shows ways to reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Climate change impacts people across the state. But Commerce City - North Denver can be especially affected. The plan is Colorado’s Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Pollution Reduction Roadmap.

How to get involved 
  • CDPHE is forming a Climate Equity Community Council to help guide this work, beginning this spring. If you’re interested in joining the council, email climatechange@state.co.us
  • Visit our department's climate change webpage for details on our climate equity work.

For more information, email cdphe.commentsapcd@state.co.us.

Pollution tracking

Air pollution monitoring

Find general information about air quality in Colorado on the air quality webpage. This webpage looks at air quality within the state. The details about air pollution exposure in Commerce City-North Denver are not available. The details of air pollution exposure in other communities are also not available. 

More resources
Hydrogen cyanide

Many residents of the Commerce City- North Denver communities have questions about the chemical, hydrogen cyanide, and the Suncor refinery. Find answers in our Hydrogen Cyanide Questions and Answers webpage.

For more information, email cdphe.commentsapcd@state.co.us.

Water pollution monitoring

We make water quality information available to the public. This includes information about regulated entities, enforcement actions, and sampling data. Anyone can search for water quality information for the Commerce City - North Denver area.

More resources

Toxic firefighting chemicals (PFAS) information:

Water quality information:

For more information, email cdphe.commentswqcd@state.co.us.

Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Lab

Our Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Lab (CAMML) monitored the air around Eagle Pointe Recreation Center in Commerce City from May 14, 2021, to July 19, 2021.

The data is available on our Commerce City - North Denver data dashboard.

The CAMML is a moveable laboratory that continuously monitors the air for pollution. The CAMML collects local data to help us make better decisions to protect health and the environment.

How we conduct CAMML monitoring
  • The purpose of CAMML monitoring is to understand potential health risks.
  • The mobile lab continuously measures many pollutants including:
    • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including benzene and toluene.
    • Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone.
    • Particulate matter, such as dust and smoke.
  • The mobile lab collects information on wind speed and direction so we have a sense of where pollutants may be coming from.
  • Our toxicologists use air monitoring results to evaluate the potential health risks to nearby communities. They do this by comparing monitored air quality values with levels established by EPA and other state and federal agencies. Our health risk assessments and air data is posted on our website after each deployment.
What happens when we find levels above health guideline values

If our measurements identify a pollutant that goes above a health guideline value we will investigate further. Health guideline values are far below levels known to cause harmful health impacts. Measurements above health guideline values do not always mean you will experience health impacts. 

Meet the CAMML