North Denver Zip Code 80216 was named the most toxic Zip Code in 2017. Intersected by two highways built in the 1950s and 1960s, the North Denver communities of Globeville, Elyria and Swansea also encompass the 4-1/2 square mile Vasquez Blvd/I-70 Superfund Site, placed on the Superfund Site Priority List in 1999. In the wake of superficial remediation of the Superfund Site, many have questioned plans by the City and the Colorado Department of Transportation to triple the footprint of I-70 and lower the highway 40 feet in a flood plain, through the Superfund Site.
Mary Hernandez grew up in Swansea, and remembers the effects of the initial I-70 highway build, as it divided her neighborhood. Having lived in the Superfund Site for 30 years, she relates the health effects of exposure to contaminants of the Vasquez Blvd/I-70 Superfund Site on three generations of her family. Other community members express their concerns about living at ground zero in what the EPA formerly named an Environmental Justice Community - predominantly minority, "suffering an undue burden of environmental pollution."