The September 2015 issue of “The Current” is hot off the presses from the Eagle River Watershed Council

eagleriver
Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:

Animas spill may stimulate watershed solutions

On August 5, about 3 million gallons of contaminated water burst out of an abandoned mine above Silverton and sent a plume of cloudy, orange water down Cement Creek to the Animas River, through the heart of Durango, and on into the San Juan River in New Mexico, the Navajo Nation and Utah. Downstream: Lake Powell.

The plume of acidic orange water, containing arsenic, lead and other toxic heavy metals, had built up as a result of historic mining activity dating back to the 1870s… The massive plume was set loose by workers for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency attempting to assess and remediate the source of an ongoing trickle of pollution from the Gold King mine…

In assessing how this catastrophe fits into the overall regional water picture, it is instructive to zoom out geographically and look back in time. The 3 million gallons of contaminated water from the spill translate to a little over 9 acre-feet of water. This quantity is dwarfed by the approximately 13 million acre-feet currently in Lake Powell, despite the fact that it is only 54 percent full…

Hannah Holm is the coordinator for the Water Center at Colorado Mesa University. Holm is a friend of the Watershed Council and wrote this article for our monthly Vail Daily column, The Current. Click here to read on.

Leave a Reply