Sunday, February 23, 2020

EPA releases update on impact of Gold King Mine spill on Navajo Nation

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a Gold King Mine spill update on Friday that included water quality and sediment level data in the Navajo Nation, and new public records and data sets on its response to the incident.

The spill was triggered on Aug. 5 by EPA investigation actions that discharged more than 3 million gallons of contaminated water from the mine near Durango, Colorado into the Animas River. From there, the heavy-metal laced water flowed into New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and the Navajo Nation.

Surface water and sediment samples from 11 locations in the San Juan River in the Navajo Nation show that it has reached pre-release conditions, according to the EPA update. This means that the samples also are below the Recreational Screening Levels according to both the Navajo Nation and EPA standards. The samples were tested for 24 metals, concentrations of which maxed out during the week of Aug. 10.

Additionally, the EPA has released documents on legal agreements, grant funding, contract work and a response summary from Colorado employees.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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