Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Utah agencies coordinate response to Gold King Mine discharge

Utah agencies including the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health (DH), are coordinating response efforts to the recent Gold King Mine mishap.

During the excavation of loose material at the non-functioning mine near Silverton, Colorado on Aug. 5, an EPA inspector accidentally released approximately 3 million gallons of contaminated water into Cement Creek, which is a tributary of the Animas River. The Animas River flows into the San Juan River and ultimately into Lake Powell. As a result, the polluted water has since flowed downstream into New Mexico and now Utah.

Beginning a coordinated response once informed of the incident, Utah’s agencies are working to mitigate the health effects of the spill. The DEQ has been engaged in sampling and testing of the San Juan River, while the DPS is conducting continuous monitoring under Level 3 emergency operations.

The DNR’s division of Wildlife Resources has established a baseline for fish tissue samples; and the DH is working with various state, local and federal partners to monitor the discharge and issue information on public health.

Organizations in this Story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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