November 24, 2017

Gold King Mine meeting scheduled for Monday

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USGS

The USGS streamgage on Cement Creek at Silverton, Colorado, measures continuous stream stage and discharge. Cement Creek is part of the Animas River Watershed in southwest Colorado.

The New Mexico Gold King Mine Spill Citizens’ Advisory Committee will meet Monday evening in Farmington.

According to the New Mexico Environment Department, the committee includes 11 citizen volunteers from northern New Mexico, including the Navajo Nation, and works with New Mexico’s Long-Term Impact Review Team to monitor and understand the long-term impacts of the 2015 Gold King Mine accident.

While conducting exploratory cleanup work of an abandoned mine in southwestern Colorado, federal contractors hired by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency caused 3 million gallons of wastewater to spill from the Gold King Mine into the Animas River. That river, which flows into the San Juan River in northwestern New Mexico, was contaminated with lead, arsenic and cadmium. The mine, like about 400 others in the area, was owned by a private company before being abandoned.

Monday’s meeting will include a presentation on the area’s hydrogeology and geochemistry and provide an opportunity for public comment.

In May, the team released a long-term monitoring plan for the Animas River.

In addition to monitoring the impacts of the Gold King Mine spill, the work scientists are doing will help people understand how waste runoff from other mines affects surface and groundwater resources in the area. The work will also help identify how any future releases from abandoned mines might affect the Animas watershed.

To read the plan click here. You can also find an associated, peer-reviewed study from the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources here.

Monday’s meeting will begin at 5:30 and be held in the SUNS Room at San Juan Community College in Farmington. For more information: www.NMEDriverwatersafety.org or NMENV-Outreach@state.nm.us

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