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Otero County Landfill to Accept Funeral Home Waste

Updated: Apr 1

The following is the official news release from the OCLI sent to Colorado News Your Way:

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 bagged and fully contained prior to transport. This is similar to how building debris is bagged for disposal when it contains friable asbestos. The material will be immediately covered with 12" of soil as it arrives at the landfill.


----       411 N. 10th Street- Rocky Ford, Colorado 81067 - (719) 383-3035

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 Commissioner's




Thank you, Danny Chavez

OCLI Board of Directors Chairperson

411 N. 10th Street- Rocky Ford, Colorado 81067 - (719) 383-3035 ----

(Otero County, CO) -- The Otero County Landfill has agreed with Fremont County and the EPA to accept waste from the Return to Nature Funeral Home in Penrose. According to KOAA news, the clean-up will start with the EPA at the site on April 8th to spray a disinfectant with the demolition of the facility in Penrose to begin on April 16th.

According to the report from KOAA neither Fremont nor Pueblo would be able to take the waste.

The funeral home made national news when 191 bodies were found to be stored improperly at the funeral home's location in Penrose.

KOAA reports the background on the story that the owners were found in Oklahoma, arrested, and returned to El Paso County to appear in court.

The Otero County landfill's website has a board of directors. The site lists them as:

Lucas Flanscha-Fowler-Chairman

Tim Knabenshue-Otero County-Vice Chairman

Danny Chavez-Manzanola-Secretary/Treasurer

Dave Howard-Cheraw

Martin Montoya-La Junta

Jim Bensley-Swink

Marty Lee-Rocky Ford


411 N. 10th Street – Rocky Ford, Colorado 81067 - (719) 652-0088

As of this writing, the website reports that the landfill was closed for Good Friday. The Colorado Public Health and Environment, CDPHE is providing updates on this story. When we have updates on this story, you will see it here.


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