Saturday, March 28, 2020

Water returns to pre-event quality in Navajo Nation following Gold King Mine spill

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday that water quality in the Navajo Nation portion of the San Juan River has reached pre-event levels following the Gold King Mine spill, according to surface water data collected by the agency.

The spill occurred at the Colorado mine site Aug. 5 and released heavy metal-contaminated water into Cement Creek, which flowed into the Animas River and was then carried into the Navajo Nation and several states. The water quality data indicating safe levels came from sampling near Hogback, New Mexico, taken Aug. 7, and water and sediments from the spill were last visually evident Aug. 8.

According to the announcement, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy discussed the results and the Navajo Nation’s plans regarding the river with president Russell Begaye on Wednesday. The Nation will be resuming irrigation use of the San Juan’s waters as early as this weekend, and the EPA will cease deliveries of agricultural water Aug. 21.

The agency has pledged to work with the Navajo Nation on a monitoring plan for the river’s water quality and provide assistance in flushing irrigation ditches.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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