What happened at the 2015 Gold King Mine waste water spill?

While excavating above the old adit, pressurized water began leaking above the mine tunnel, spilling about three million gallons of water stored behind the collapsed material into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.

Was the Gold King Mine abandoned?

The Gold King Mine spill occurred at the Gold King Mine—an abandoned mine near Silverton, Colorado—in August 2015. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) personnel and a company under EPA contract triggered the release of toxic wastewater in an attempt to remove such wastewater from the mine.

Who paid for the Gold King Mine waste water spill clean up?

A Denver mining company will pay the state of Colorado $1.6 million in a settlement connected to the 2015 Gold King Mine spill, which infamously turned the Animas River a sickly hue of orange. The settlement, announced Monday, resolves a lawsuit by the state against the Sunnyside Gold Corp.

Why was the water from the Gold King Mine spill so brown in color?

The reason the water was orange has to do with how mining exposes sulfide-rich rock to air and water. That leads to a process in which sulfuric acid is formed and then dissolves dangerous metals, like zinc, cadmium and lead, as well as more benign ones like iron, which causes the discoloration.

Where is Bonita Peak mining District?

San Juan County
Background. The Bonita Peak Mining District site consists of 48 historic mines or mining-related sources where ongoing releases of metal-laden water and sediments are occurring within the Mineral Creek, Cement Creek and Upper Animas River drainages in San Juan County, Colorado.

How did they clean up the Gold King Mine Spill?

As water exits the mine, the water flows into a system of four treatment ponds. The treatment ponds provide retention time to allow the addition of lime to neutralize the pH. Substances to treat water are added during the process to settle the metals to the bottom of the retention ponds.

What is the Gold King Mine Accident?

Contractors accidentally destroyed the plug holding water trapped inside the mine, which caused an overflow of the pond, spilling three million US gallons (eleven thousand cubic metres) of mine waste water and tailings, including heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, and other toxic elements, such as arsenic.

Who owns the Gold King Mine?

San Juan Corporation
The GKM shipped 711,144 tons of gold and silver ore while in operation. The mine has been inactive since then. It is currently owned by San Juan Corporation. The GKM is located in the Upper Animas Watershed in southwestern Colorado.

Why is the Colorado River Yellow?

A mine blowout that spewed millions of gallons of pollution into a Colorado river, turning it brownish yellow, happened after officials opened the mine “on purpose,” a Republican lawmaker said Tuesday.

What is a federal Superfund site?

Superfund sites are polluted locations in the United States requiring a long-term response to clean up hazardous material contaminations. They were designated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980.

What is the status of the Gold King Mine today?

The bright orange plume from the original spill is gone, but legal fights and restoration projects continue. And heavy metals from the three million gallons of mining wastewater remain in waterways used by communities, farmers and ranchers.

How was the Gold King mine spill cleaned up?

What happened at the Colorado Gold King Mine?

The August 2015 spill at the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado released 3 million gallons of wastewater tainted with iron, aluminum, manganese, lead, copper and other metals.

How much water did the Colorado River spill?

Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper declared the affected area a disaster zone. The spill affected waterways of municipalities in the states of Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, as well as the Navajo Nation. It is estimated that acidic water spilled at a rate of 500–700 US gal/min (1.9–2.6 m 3 /min) while remediation efforts were underway.

Can the EPA pay back damages from Colorado Mine spill?

DENVER — The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday it will not repay claims totaling more than $1.2 billion for economic damages from a mine waste spill the agency accidentally triggered in Colorado, saying the law prohibits it. The EPA said the claims could be refiled in federal court, or Congress could authorize payments.

What happened at the Gold Rush mine spill?

Before the spill, water carrying “metals pollution” was flowing into a holding area outside the mine. Authorities asked people to stay out of the water until EPA tests confirmed the contamination had dissipated.