EPA: Colorado mine spill water treatment system proving effective — The Denver Post

The EPA's wastewater treatment plant near Silverton, Colorado, on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2015 -- photo via Grace Hood Colorado Public Radio
The EPA’s wastewater treatment plant near Silverton, Colorado, on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2015 — photo via Grace Hood Colorado Public Radio

From The Denver Post (Jesse Paul):

A newly-installed temporary wastewater treatment system at the Gold King Mine site is already proving very effective, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday.

“The system is now operating 24 hours a day,” the EPA said in a statement to The Denver Post. “It is treating flows from 200 to 800 (gallons per minute), which includes all the flow from the mine, plus water that has been stored in ponds prior to start-up.”

The EPA on Friday began water treatment operations at the site above Silverton, where the agency on Aug. 5 spilled 3 million gallons of contaminants.

The temporary system, erected by Alexco Environmental Group Inc., is expected to operate throughout the winter and is capable of working in minus-20-degree temperatures. It will remove about 85 percent of “metals of concern,” according to the EPA, and discharged water will have a pH ranging from 6 to 9.

Neutral water has a pH of 7.

The EPA says the new system will only address contaminants still flowing from the Gold King. While it will make some improvement to Cement Creek, the agency says the system is “not intended to be a solution to the broader problem of a discharging mine in the Upper Animas.”

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