The plan will see the EPA collect water, sediment, biological community and fish tissue samples from 30 locations throughout Colorado, Southern Ute Indian Reservation, New Mexico, Ute Mountain Ute Reservation, the Navajo Nations and Utah. The samples will cover Cement Creek, the Animas River, the San Juan River and the San Juan arm of Lake Powell. These samples will allow the EPA and state, tribal and local governments to understand the waterway’s quality and any fluctuations due to seasonal factors.
The agency had issued a draft conceptual monitoring plan, “Post Gold King Mine Release Incident: Conceptual Monitoring Plan for Surface Water, Sediment and Biology,” a month after the incident, which released waters contaminated with heavy metals into the waterways. The EPA developed the final conceptual monitoring plan with state, local and tribal organizations and agencies, and is continuing to work with states and tribes financially and in advisory capacity as they design their own jurisdiction-specific monitoring plans.