Gold King Mine

Gold King Mine ‘Incident’

By now, most everyone has heard of the August 5, 2015 accidental release of more than 3 million gallons of acidic mine waste into the Animas River and Cement Creek above Silverton, CO. The mishap occurred at the Gold King Mine in San Juan County, approximately one hour north of the City of Durango, when a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) safety crew investigating possible alternatives for remediation at the mine triggered a large release of wastewater, which resulted in acidic mine water containing metals and sediment flowing as an orange-colored discharge downstream. The risk was inherent in the remediation process. According to Steve Fearn, a respected Silverton engineer familiar with the Gold King Mine, “the problem was that neither EPA nor their contractor took adequate precautions in removing the blockage at the portal and they did not have facilities prepared to minimize the impact in case they lost control of the discharge. They also did not have a plan for notification of downstream parties in a timely basis nor had they analyzed what the potential toxicity might be.” Much to their credit, the EPA has admitted all of this.


October 3, 2015--Tipton questions Superfund status (Durango Herald)

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton on Thursday expressed concerns with the prospect of federal officials moving forward with a Superfund listing for Silverton near the inactive Gold King Mine. A divide has emerged over the Superfund question, with some residents and officials of Silverton worried the listing would be a stain on the community.


October 3, 2015--Economic future in flux after Gold King spill (Durango Herald)

The economic stability of Southwest Colorado could be in peril, according to financial victims of the Gold King Mine spill, who spoke in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. The three speakers – representing La Plata County, Durango and Silverton interests – spoke at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee.


September 27, 2015--A critical step in protecting the West’s waterways (Grand Junction Sentinel)

The massive and tragic spill of mine wastewater into the Animas River is a stark reminder of the impacts energy and mineral development can have on our waterways.  While we have come a long way since the mining rush of the 19th century, energy and mineral development continues throughout Colorado and the West.  Development must be done responsibly especially when it comes to our preci


September 26, 2015--Questions arise over contractor selection at Gold King Mine (Durango Herald)

Questions are being raised after the Environmental Protection Agency announced that the same contractor who played a role in the Gold King Mine spill will oversee the contract for a new water-treatment system. St.


September 23, 2015--Gold King Mine's temporary treatment plant to open by Oct. 14 (Denver Post)

The federal government said Wednesday it will open a temporary water treatment system at the Gold King Mine by Oct. 14 to deal with the spoiled waters. The portable plant will treat 550 gallons per minute of water still discharging from the mine in southwest Colorado, according to an Environmental Protection Agency news release.


September 22, 2015--Senate debates how to prevent another Gold King Mine disaster (Denver Post)

Members of the U.S. Senate recently sparred over two related — and sometimes competing — plans that supporters said could prevent a repeat of the Gold King Mine disaster in southwest Colorado. The debate was part of a 90-minute hearing that focused on the Aug.


September 20, 2015--Gold King spill leads to state-control discussion (Durango Herald)

The recent Gold King Mine wastewater spill could breathe new life into a conversation about state control over federal lands.  A meeting of the Water Resources Review Committee on Tuesday offered a glimpse into the issue, as state lawmakers had their first opportunity since the Aug.


September 12, 2015--Colorado mine spill highlights Superfund challenges (Wall Street Journal)

The Colorado mine spill that sent three million gallons of toxic sludge into a river last month highlighted the struggles of the federal Superfund program to clean up contaminated mining sites across the American West. The program, administered by the Environmental Protection Agency, was set up in the 1980s to remediate the nation’s most polluted places, from old factories to landfil


September 11, 2015--S. Utes: Spill costs at $200K (Durango Herald)

The price tag for the Gold King Mine disaster has reached about $200,000 for the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, and additional expenditures are likely. Southern Ute Chairman Clement Frost announced the financial setback to tribal coffers when addressing the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs on Thursday. The commission held its quarterly meeting at the Leonard C.


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