#AnimasRiver: @EPA requests comments for interim plan for SW #Colorado mine clean up

The Animas River in Durango, in Apri, 2018. Photo: Brent Gardner-Smith/Aspen Journalism

From The Associated Press (Dan Elliott):

The interim plan concentrates on controlling or removing contaminants at 26 sites including campgrounds, mine waste piles, ponds and rivers. It will cost about $10 million and take up to five years, the agency said.

Five of the locations are recreation sites where people could be exposed to arsenic or lead, the agency said.

“EPA is interested in expediting cleanup so that we can show improvements in water quality wherever possible,” said Christina Progess, manager of the Superfund project…

The Gold King is not on the list of 26 sites chosen for interim work. The EPA said that’s because a temporary treatment plant was installed two months after the spill and is cleaning up wastewater from the mine.

The Superfund cleanup will eventually cover 48 mining sites, but the EPA said it chose 26 for interim work to reduce human and environmental risks while a long-term solution is studied.

The EPA said the 26 sites have elevated levels of aluminum, cadmium, copper, iron, lead or zinc.

Two of the recreation sites on the list are campgrounds and three are parking areas or locations where people meet for tours, the EPA said. The plan calls for covering mine waste piles and contaminated soil with gravel or plant growth to reduce human exposure and keep the contaminants from being kicked into the air.

The other work includes dredging contaminated sediment from streams and from ponds near mine openings, and digging ditches and berms to keep water from flushing contaminants out of waste piles and into streams.

The EPA is seeking public comment on the plan. The deadline for comments is July 16.

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