From The Denver Post (Jesse Paul):
Environmental officials said Thursday their long-term concern after the 3 million-gallon Gold King Mine spill centers around the metallic sediment left in its wake.
Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency says it is worried about the “effect of metals deposited in sediments in the entire watershed and their release during high-water events and from long periods of recreational use.”
The EPA mentioned the concerns as part of a data release accompanying 77 pages of documents chronicling the minutes and hours before and after the agency-triggered spill…
Experts say metals lining the riverbed could continue to cause long-term effects for agriculture, aquatic life and other life-forms along the Animas River.
The EPA specifically has been studying concentrations of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury in surface water.
The acidic heavy metals that flooded into Cement Creek in Silverton and the Animas River through La Plata County after the spill initially broke state water quality limits.
The new data comes after the EPA on Wednesday released an internal review of the events leading up the Gold King spill showing crews underestimated waste pressure behind the mine’s collapsed opening.
The report called the underestimation of the pressure the most significant factor leading to the spill.
According to the report, had crews drilled into the mine’s collapsed opening, as they had done at a nearby site, they “may have been able to discover the pressurized conditions that turned out to cause the blowout.”