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Environmental Land Use and Planning

Environmental Quality participates as a partner with other City agencies in development projects to provide technical advice on matters related to environmental issues. These include review of General Development Plans (GDP) and oversight of larger development projects with significant environmental cleanup concerns such as the Former Gates Site.

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The Denver Environmental Land Use and Planning (ELUP) Environmental Site Assessment Program (ESA) works with other City agencies to development projects with technical advice, regulatory review and recommendations on matters related to environmental issues. Goals of ESA are to ensure that projects minimize adverse impacts to the environment, protect human health, minimize existing liability, prevent new liabilities and will be completed in a sustainable and cost-effective manner. ESA additionally reviews the environmental conditions of all property under consideration for acquisition, to avoid acquisition of contaminated or impaired property in compliance with Denver Executive Order No 100.

Denver’s goals are to ensure that environmentally contaminated sites within Denver are cleaned up to protect the health of Denver residents and their environment, and ensure that the cleanup activities comply with applicable regulations. Program staff provide proactive oversight of the cleanup of environmentally contaminated sites in Denver. We work with a variety of city departments, state and federal regulatory agencies, community groups, residents, and businesses to ensure that cleanups protect public health and the environment and to ensure that regulatory requirements are met. We investigate complaints, help to identify contaminated sites, coordinate between city agencies, provide technical review of site plans and reports, interpret regulatory requirements, and attend meetings to represent the city’s and residents’ interests.

The City and County of Denver owns the Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site (DADS) landfill, which is located at 3500 South Gun Club Road, Aurora, CO, just east of the intersection of Hampden Avenue and South Gun Club Road. DADS is a fully permitted subtitle D landfill and accepts municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, asbestos waste, and some types of industrial wastes such as coal-fired power plant fly ash and petroleum-contaminated soil.

The Division of Environmental Quality ensures that DADS operates in a manner consistent with state and federal regulations and in accordance to the operating agreement between the City and Waste Management of Colorado, Inc., who operates the landfill on the City’s behalf. 

For questions concerning hours of operation, disposal costs, and disposal requirements at DADS, please call 720-876-2620. For questions concerning the management and acceptance of industrial wastes, please call 720-977-2102.


DADS is a part of a larger tract of land deeded to the City and County of Denver in the 1960s by the federal government for the purposes of public health. The initial landfill, Lowry, operated through 1990. In 1990, the DADS landfill began operations and continues to operate today as the largest landfill in Colorado and one of the largest in the country. DADS accepts on average 6,500 tons of waste per day or about 2 million tons per year.

Compatible and sustainable practices and services have been and continue to be incorporated into the DADS property. These uses are offered through the City and Waste Management, Waste Management only, or third parties. Over 7 million shredded tires that were collected during the 1960s and 1970s were used as tire-derived fuel in the early 2000s. The landfill gas to energy plant generates enough electricity to power about 2,000 homes per year. There is also a drop off area for household and some construction recyclable material, an area for concrete and asphalt recycling, and a composting facility.


The City and County of Denver encourages reduce, reuse, and recycling both within Denver and in the surrounding communities. Denver residents can obtain information concerning recycling and household hazardous waste services at Denver Recycles.

Additionally, recycling drop off of the following materials is available at DADS: Asphalt Shingles, Electronic Waste, Scrap Metal, Single Stream, White Goods, and Whole Tires. Fees apply to some material. Please call 720-876-2620 for details.


The City and County of Denver also encourages waste reduction through composting, whether through backyard composting, drop off programs, or contracted services.

Compostable material, such as food waste, yard clippings, and clean lumber, may also be taken to DADS for processing into compost product. Please call 720-876-2620 for fees and details.  


The City and County of Denver and Waste Management are dedicated to ensuring that the landfill protects the environment by monitoring groundwater through a network of groundwater monitoring wells, operating a landfill gas collection system, and screening waste received to make sure that no regulated hazardous waste is landfilled. These are just a few of the environmental management efforts undertaken at DADS to protect the environment.


For further information regarding the DADS landfill, contact:
Diane DeLillio, Project Manager

GIS has a long history in the Department of Environmental Health, Environmental Quality Division, being one of four City entities that first began using GIS in the early 90’s. 

Today GIS has grown and is an integral part of EQ operations used to present and analyze the spatial components of its environmental projects.

EQ has been the primary driver of geospatial technology within DEH promoting the use of state of the art ESRI ArcMap software, geospatial data, electronic documents, historical maps, and current as well as historical aerial photography. The EQ division has many GIS-trained employees and interns who use desktop applications, custom tools and modeling to perform their jobs. 

GIS collaboration takes place among DEH divisions as well as other City agencies, the State of Colorado, Federal agencies and the public to provide the superior geospatial products that have shaped Denver’s GIS into a nation-wide model.

EQ functions with geospatial components include:

  • Environmental Site Assessments
  • Environmental and Health Regulatory Compliance
  • Home and Business Energy Outreach
  • Sustainability Programs
  • Brownfields Remediation
  • Transit Oriented Development
  • Health Impact Assessments
  • Air and Water quality
  • Land Use Planning
  • Asbestos Remediation
  • Mosquito/Vector Program