Gold King Mine, other contaminated sites in southwest Colorado to get priority for Superfund cleanup

The Gold King Mine spill dumped millions of gallons of pollutants into the Animas River in August, 2015.

Associated Press

The Gold King Mine spill dumped millions of gallons of pollutants into the Animas River in August, 2015.

 

It has been just over a year since an EPA crew doing preliminary cleanup work at the Gold King Mine north of Silverton unleashed a yellow plume of toxic mine waste which gushed into Cement Creek and from there into the Animas and San Juan rivers, contaminating waters as far away as New Mexico and Utah. This week the EPA declared the mine a Superfund priority, along with dozens of other nearby sites (collectively dubbed the Bonita Peak Mining District, for purposes of the Superfund application) paving the way for the resources to do long-needed remediation.

As Jonathan Thompson reported in the High Country News in the spring, the town of Silverton and San Juan County commissioners were concerned about the impact on the area’s tourism to be known as a Superfund site, but in the end decided unanimously it was in their best interest, long-term, to apply for the federal designation.

 

 

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