S.1047 — Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel Act of 2011: Senator Udall introduces bill that would authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to take over operation of the relief well permanently

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From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

Concern about a potential blowout in the tunnel, located north of Leadville, was raised in early 2008 when high groundwater levels were suspected of building pressure from millions of gallons of contaminated water behind bulkheads in the tunnel and possibly leaking into surrounding areas.

Since then, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall has tried to get approval for legislation that would give the Bureau of Reclamation authority to continue operating a relief well and to take steps toward a long-term solution.

The Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel Act would clarify that the Bureau of Reclamation has the authority to treat the water diverted into the tunnel and — if necessary — to expand on site to treat additional water. The bureau is also required to maintain the structural integrity of the tunnel to be safe over the long haul.

Previously, Reclamation claimed it lacked specific authority to treat water behind the blockages in the tunnel, a federal facility built to drain mines as a way to improve production in World War II and the Korean War…

Reclamation and the Environmental Protection Agency, which oversees mine drainage mitigation at a nearby Superfund site in California Gulch, have been unable to reach a long-term solution.

More Leadville Mine Drainage Tunnel coverage here and here.

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