Tags: colorado | mind | superfund | list | spill

Colorado Mine on Superfund List With 57 Other Sites

Image: Colorado Mine on Superfund List With 57 Other Sites

Cement Creek, which was flooded with millions of gallons of mining wastewater, meets with the Animas River on Aug. 11, 2015, in Silverton, Colorado. The Environmental Protection Agency accidentally released approximately 3 million gallons of wastewater into the creek from the Gold King mine, polluting the larger Animas River downstream. (Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)

Thursday, 08 Sep 2016 06:39 AM

The EPA on Wednesday added a Colorado mine to the Superfund list, clearing the way for a multimillion-dollar federal cleanup of the site where 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewaster spewed into rivers in three states.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency formally added the inactive Gold King Mine and 47 other nearby mining-related sites to the Superfund list. It also included nine other sites in California, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New York, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia and Puerto Rico, The Associated Press reported.

A federal crew inadvertently triggered the Colorado spill during preliminary cleanup work at the gold mine in August 2015, sending out a mustard-yellow plume that tainted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The EPA estimates that 880,000 pounds of metals flowed into the Animas River in Colorado, including arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc.

The Superfund designation comes after months of negotiations with southwestern Colorado residents, who feared it could dampen the region's vital tourism industry.

An investigation last year by the Interior Department, which is independent of the EPA, said the cleanup crew could have avoided the spill but rushed its work. But Interior officials said they found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

A separate criminal investigation is still underway, along with an internal inquiry. New Mexico has sued both the EPA and Colorado over the spill, while the Navajo Nation sued the federal government.

Congress has conducted multiple hearings on the Colorado spill and is considering several bills to address hundreds of old, leaking mines nationwide.

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The EPA on Wednesday added a Colorado mine to the Superfund list, clearing the way for a multimillion-dollar federal cleanup of the site where 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewaster spewed into rivers in three states.
colorado, mind, superfund, list, spill
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2016-39-08
Thursday, 08 Sep 2016 06:39 AM
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