KKTV11 NEWS 8-9-15 3-Million-Gallons; EPA Raises Spill Estimate

Aug 9, 2015

3-Million-Gallons; E.P.A. Raises Estimate Of Toxic Waste Spilled Into Animas River

By: AP
The Environmental Protection Agency has tripled it

Credit: www.durangoherald.com

The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) has tripled it's estimate of the initial toxic waste spill on Wednesday. The yellow water continues to pour into the Animas river near Durango at a rate of 500-gallons-per-minute.

The water, pouring from a breached debris basin at the abandoned Gold King Mine, near Silverton, is tainted with arsenic, lead, and other heave metals.

The E.P.A. held a meeting in Durango Sunday night to address residents' concerns. They talked about testing and treatment that is being done on the water right now.

The waste water has traveled south into New Mexico. It's reached more than 100-miles downstream, past the city of Farmington.

New Mexico's governor Susana Martinez says she is not happy with the E.P.A.'s response following the breach on Wednesday.

Susana Martinez/New Mexico Governor: "It is completely irresponsible for the EPA not to have informed the state of new Mexico immediately."

The city of Durango and La Plata County declared a state of local emergency on Sunday.


A yellow sludge spilling from a shuttered gold mine into a southwestern Colorado river has reached northern New Mexico.

San Juan County Emergency Management Director Don Cooper says the plume arrived in the city of Aztec on Friday night and Farmington on Saturday morning.

Officials in both cities shut down the river's access to water treatment plants and say the communities have a 90-day supply of water and other water sources to draw from.

About 1 million gallons of wastewater from Colorado's Gold King Mine began spilling Wednesday when a cleanup crew supervised by the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally breached a debris dam that had formed inside the mine.

No health hazard has been detected, but tests were being analyzed. Federal officials say the spill contains heavy metals including lead and arsenic.