Gold King Mine Treatment Plant Will Be Online Before Winter

<p>(Grace Hood/CPR News)</p>
<p>This view of the Gold King Mine on Aug. 9, 2015, shows orange wastewater  in a settling pond.</p>

The Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday that a temporary waste water treatment system for the Gold King Mine will be operational before this winter.

The plan calls for the treatment system to be operational by Oct. 14. The contract to build the system was awarded Tuesday to Alexco Environmental Group Inc.

The fast pace for the contract is important because temperatures at the mine site can fall so low during winter that it's unsafe to treat the water manually, EPA says.

The $1.8 million plant is expected to start operating by Oct. 14 and run for 42 weeks. The EPA says it will cost $20,000 a week to operate.

An EPA-led crew triggered the August blowout. Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were affected.

Water continues to flow from the mine.