Thursday, September 19, 2019

EPA: Animas River, drinking-water systems reopened after tests

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a statement over the weekend, detailing the steps it is taking to address the Gold King Mine discharge, which released heavy-metal-contaminated water into the Animas River.

In New Mexico, state and local officials have reopened drinking-water systems and declared the Animas River safe for recreational activities, based on sampling and testing aided by the EPA.

The EPA has been working with state and tribal authorities, including at least 20 agencies, to address the situation in Colorado, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation, with 210 employees and contractors deployed across the areas impacted by the spill.

At the mine itself, the water that the mine is still releasing is being caught in treatment ponds to remove toxins. Throughout the rest of Colorado, irrigation ditches that depend on the Animas River have been flushed and are returning to service as testing indicates acceptable levels of water quality.

The agency held a public meeting with the Navajo Nation and is providing water for agricultural and livestock use to 13 locations. Testing of the San Juan River in the Navajo Nation was highly variable, so the EPA plans to conduct more-thorough sampling, and processing is still ongoing in Colorado and New Mexico as well.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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