Hazardous Water Released into Animas River

The Environmental Protection Agency knew that a mine in Southwest Colorado contained a large pool of hazardous water, and was working to slowly remove that water when workers for the agency triggered a release Wednesday. The orange-hued plume is making its way down the Animas River and into the San Juan. 

Peter Butler is with the Animas River Stakeholder group, which has worked with the EPA on the mine cleanup. He says the mine held more water than originally thought.

"It was known that there was a pool of water back in the mine," says Butler, "and EPA had a plan to remove that water and treat it, you know, slowly. But things didn't go quite the way they planned and there was a lot more water in there than they thought, and it just kind of burst out of the mine."

The agency has told people to stay out of the Animas and San Juan Rivers. Residents of Durango and Farmington are also being asked to reduce their water use because water from the Animas is unavailable at this time.