|EcoFlight photo of spill in Durango, via The Durango Herald|
The spill began around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when a crew working for the EPA used heavy equipment to enter the suspended Gold King Mine to investigate pollution and gradually release it but went too far, CNNreports. Durango lawyer Richard Ruth said at a public meeting Sunday that the spill was inevitable: “The problem is a historical one, with the mines north of Silverton continually discharging toxic water into the Animas. The EPA was trying to dam up one of the mines, the dam failed, and anyone who’s worked in construction can understand that.”
|The Animas is a popular kayaking stream.
(Durango Herald photo by Jerry McBride)
"The EPA confirmed it is seriously considering declaring parts of Silverton a Superfund site," the Herald reports. "For two decades, the town of Silverton has resisted the EPA’s attempts to make parts of its mining basin Superfund sites—though U.S. Geological Survey scientists have said the heavy metals flowing out of its mines and into the Animas River constitute the worst untreated mine drainage in the state—arguing the designation would hurt the town’s reputation. . . . Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, said Sunday he plans to file a lawsuit against the EPA as a result of damages to the nation’s water supply." EPA said it expects no lasting effect to human health. "EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department said they will test private domestic wells near the Animas to identify metals of concern from the spill," CNNreports.