From The Pueblo Chieftain:
Colorado Department of Public Health officials on Friday received a report of a spill that occurred at the Cotter Crop. Uranium Mill south of here.
Steve Cohen, Cotter manager, reported the spill occurred just before 8:30 a.m. as Cotter workers were trying to drain a section of pipes that connect the new and the old pipeline. A new pipeline is being installed to prevent contaminated water escaping the site.
About 5,200 gallons of water was spilled, all of which was contained within the trench and Cotter workers were able to recover most of the spilled water using a water truck, said Warren Smith, health department spokesman.
From Canon City Daily Record (Kara Mason):
It’s unclear how much “slightly contaminated” water seeped into the ground or will evaporate, but Steve Cohen, Cotter’s plant manager estimates around 3,000 to 4,000 gallons were picked up with the truck.
The spill happened when Cotter workers were attempting to drain a section of pipe where the old pipe and the new replaced pipe connect. A brittle or cracked valve is to blame, Cohen said. “Basically when the workers touched the valve it blew.”
The valve will be replaced, Cohen added.
The water was contained in the trench where pipeline construction has been ongoing for the last couple of weeks. Now, the water will return to the impoundment pond on Cotter property.
Cotter is replacing the pipeline after several leaks the last couple of years. Last August, Cotter reported a 7,000-gallon leak, which occurred over the course of 48 hours. That leak was the result of a hairline fracture in the pipleline — which is now being replaced on site.
Despite the most recent spill, Cohen said the pipeline replacement is still on track to finish the final week of March.
Cotter is required by Colorado law to report spills to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which posts the information on its website. CDPHE is expecting a report on the spill next week.