ALERT ! – TOXIC WASTE COMING DOWN ANIMAS RIVER – CLOSE YOUR DITCH UNTIL IT PASSES
Thursday, August 6, 2015
SILVERTON (AP) – The La Plata County Sheriff’s office closed the Animas River to all watercraft Thursday afternoon after it was contaminated with about a million gallons of mine waste that turned it orange.
The river is closed to watercraft including canoes, kayaks, tubes, rafts and other flotation devices from the Northern San Juan County line to the southern County line at the Colorado/New Mexico State line until further notice. All such watercraft must be removed from the Animas River within those locations.
The order will remain in effect until it is determined that the river is safe. EPA test results of the Animas River are expected within 24-48 hours, and the order will be re-evaluated at that time.
An Environmental Protection Agency and State Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety team are working to investigate the contamination at the Gold King Mine in San Juan County unexpectedly triggered a large release of mine waste water.
The EPA says about one million gallons of mine waste, containing high levels of sediment and metals, spewed into Cement Creek, which runs into the Animas.
Several workers on-site at the time were unharmed.
Radio Durango reports that the city has shut down water intakes until the contaminated water has passed.
ANIMAS RIVER CLOSED TO PUBLIC AFTER MINE DUMPS 1M GALLONS OF WASTE
Updated: 08/06/2015 5:48 PM | Created: 08/06/2015 10:54 AM
By: KOB.com staff
SILVERTON, Colo. – A mine waste spill has spewed about a million gallons of orange-colored discharge into a tributary of the Animas River.
The Environmental Protection Agency told the Denver Post it triggered the release while using heavy machinery to investigate pollutants at the Gold King Mine north of Silverton.
The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office has closed the river to the public.
“This decision was made in the interest of public health after consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, San Juan Basin Health Department and representatives of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe,” advised Sheriff Sean Smith. “This Order shall remain in effect until it is determined that the river is safe. EPA test results of the Animas River are expected within 24-48 hours, and the Order will be re-evaluated at that time.”
Environmental authorities are scrambling to assess damage from the leak, caused when a plug blew at the Gold King Mine near Silverton. Earlier today, officials say that drinking water is not affected and that the spill is not harmful to humans. The primary pollutants are iron and zinc.
The EPA says that about 1 million gallons of mine waste spewed into Cement Creek, which feeds the Animas.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment says that there are no fish populations in the Cement Creek watershed because of longstanding water quality impairment.
The Bureau of Reclamation will release more water from the Navajo Dam in order to dilute the merger from the Animas into the San Juan River in Farminigton, NM.
City of Farmington officials are urging residents to stay out of the river and to keep live stock from drinking the water if discoloration is present.
Farmington’s drinking water is unaffected, city officials said.