Cement Creek aerial photo — Jonathan Thompson via Twitter
On April 7, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed adding the “Bonita Peak Mining District” to the National Priorities List, making it eligible for Superfund. Forty-eight mine portals and tailings piles are “under consideration” to be included. The Gold King Mine will almost certainly be on the final list, as will the nearby American Tunnel. The Mayflower Mill #4 tailings repository, just outside Silverton, is another likely candidate, given that it appears to be leaching large quantities of metals into the Animas River. What Superfund will entail for the area beyond that, and when the actual cleanup will begin, remains unclear. Eric Baker
Geologic map of the Silverton Caldera showing the Animas River, Cement Creek and Mineral Creek, which outline the ring-shaped caldera. Much of the mineralization occurs in radial and graben faults. Credit: USGS/Church, von Guerard and Finger, 2007 (modified from Casadevall and Ohmoto, 1977).
Cement Creek photo via the @USGS Twitter feed
Cement Creek remains lined with orange sediment after the Gold King Mine spill. The Environmental Protection Agency accidentally triggered the release of orange wastewater laced with heavy metals into Cement Creek on Aug. 5. The creek flows into the Animas River at Silverton, and eventually crosses into New Mexico and Utah
The EPA’s wastewater treatment plant near Silverton, Colorado, on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2015 — photo via Grace Hood Colorado Public Radio
The Environmental Protection Agency’s temporary water-treatment facility at Gold King Mine, October 2015, via Steve Lewis/The Durango Herald.
The confluence of Cement Creek, at right, and the Animas River, left, as seen September 2015 in Silverton, Colo. This is where the plume of contaminated water from the Gold King Mine entered the Animas River. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)
Acid mind drainage Cement Creek watershed
Cement Creek August 8, 2015 — Bruce Finley via Twitter
Confluence of Cement Creek and the Animas River from the Coyote Gulch archives (11/21/2010)
Settling ponds used to precipitate iron oxide and other suspended materials at the Red and Bonita mine drainage near Gold King mine, shown Aug. 14, 2015. (Photo by Eric Vance/EPA)
Bulkheads, like this one at the Red and Bonita Mine, help stop mine water discharges and allow engineers to monitor the mine pool. Credit: EPA.
From The Associated Press via The Colorado Springs Gazette:
The driver wasn’t severely injured, but about 9 cubic yards of waste sludge spilled into the creek.
The sludge is a byproduct of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency treatment plant that is cleaning up water draining from the inactive Gold King mine. The EPA has said the sludge is not hazardous.
Authorities say it doesn’t appear the truck spilled any fuel.