#AnimasRiver: La Plata County OKs agreement with EPA on mine spill remediation — The Durango Herald

This image was taken during the peak outflow from the Gold King Mine spill at 10:57 a.m. Aug. 5. The waste-rock dump can be seen eroding on the right. Federal investigators placed blame for the blowout squarely on engineering errors made by the Environmental Protection Agency’s-contracted company in a 132-page report released Thursday [October 22, 2015]
This image was taken during the peak outflow from the Gold King Mine spill at 10:57 a.m. Aug. 5. The waste-rock dump can be seen eroding on the right. Federal investigators placed blame for the blowout squarely on engineering errors made by the Environmental Protection Agency’s-contracted company in a 132-page report released Thursday [October 22, 2015]

From The Durango Herald (Jessica Pace):

A 10-year cooperative agreement in which the Environmental Protection Agency provides $2.4 million for remedial efforts related to the Aug. 5 Gold King Mine spill received unanimous support from La Plata County Board commissioners on Tuesday.

EPA officials have until Feb. 1 to sign off on the agreement, which includes eight tasks for ensuring the future health and safety of the county’s residents and environment. Those include continued work with Wright Water Engineers, which has conducted for the county an analyses on the Animas River’s health, independent of the EPA.

Other initiatives include a real-time water-monitoring system to alert the county of changes in water quality, developing a response plan for future environmental incidents and hiring a contractor for community outreach – to explain pre- and post-spill data to the public.

The county has accomplished one of the tasks, which is to investigate the feasibility of a Superfund designation for the Silverton area.

County Manager Joe Kerby will serve as recovery manager and oversee, with other county staff, the implementation of the agreement.

A complete draft of the cooperative agreement can be found on the La Plata County website.

The $2.4 million, to be spent over 10 years as the plan is carried out, is an estimate, and it would be allocated as needed.

The EPA has reimbursed about $200,000 to the county for expenditures between Aug. 12 and Sept. 11.

Cement Creek aerial photo -- Jonathan Thompson via Twitter
Cement Creek aerial photo — Jonathan Thompson via Twitter

Commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to postpone until January a vote on an official statement of support of a Superfund designation for the Upper Cement Creek Basin.

“I’d like to continue this pending action from Silverton and San Juan County,” Commissioner Julie Westendorff said…

Silverton and San Juan County officials will meet again with the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in early January.

A “get well soon” balloon floats in the contaminated waters of the Animas River flowing through Durango on Monday afternoon August 10, 2015 -- photo The Durango Herald, Shane Benjamin
A “get well soon” balloon floats in the contaminated waters of the Animas River flowing through Durango on Monday afternoon August 10, 2015 — photo The Durango Herald, Shane Benjamin

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