Storms Raised Some Gold Mine Pollutants, Not Others

April 17, 2016

Researchers who studied the Animas River in Colorado after a massive spill at the Gold Kng Mine say runoff from fall storms kicked up the levels of some contaminants in the water but not others.

A report released Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency may offer clues about what will happen this year when melting mountain snow makes the Animas River run higher, potentially stirring up pollutants that settled to the bottom.

An EPA cleanup crew inadvertently unleashed 3 million gallons of contaminated wastewater from the Gold King Mine in August. The spill polluted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The Mountain Studies Institute in Silverton monitored the river about 60 miles downstream from the mine for the EPA. Its report said concentrations of six contaminants increased after some storms, while the levels of five others decreased. Seven didn't change.

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