From The Durango Herald (Jonathan Romeo):
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday its will add the district of mines around Silverton to its National Priorities List as a Superfund site this week.
In a press release, the EPA said it would add the “Bonita Peak Mining District” – a group of about 50 mine waste sites in San Juan County – to the NPL on Friday.
“Listing the Bonita Peak Mining District on the National Priorities List is an important step that enables EPA to secure the necessary resources to investigate and address contamination concerns of San Juan and La Plata counties, as well as other downstream communities in New Mexico, Utah and the Navajo Nation,” Shaun McGrath, EPA’s regional administrator, said in a prepared statement.
From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):
EPA officials said they’ll announce the prioritization of these sites along Animas River headwaters above Silverton – “the Bonita Peak Mining District” – in the federal register on Friday. These are among 10 new sites nationwide targeted for cleanups — dependent on Congress providing funds. The federal Superfund program involves investigating and cleaning up the nation’s worst environmental disasters to protect human health and the environment.
“Listing the Bonita Peak Mining District on the National Priorities List is an important step that enables EPA to secure the necessary resources to investigate and address contamination concerns of San Juan and La Plata Counties, as well as other downstream communities in New Mexico, Utah, and the Navajo Nation,” EPA regional administrator Shaun McGrath said in a prepared statement.
“We look forward to continuing our efforts with the state of Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S Forest Service, tribal governments and our community partners to address the impacts of acid mine drainage on the Animas River.”
The district consists of 35 dormant mines, seven tunnels, four heaps of tailings and two study areas — sites located along Mineral Creek, Cement Creek and the Upper Animas. These waterways flow into the Animas River just below Silverton…
EPA data on 32 sources in the area, discharging contaminants at a combined rate of 5.4 million gallons per day, identify contaminants including cadmium, copper, manganese and zinc.