EPA: No Major Water Impacts Expected from Temp. Shutdown

During the temporary closure of the IWTP, the additional metals loading into the Animas River was not significantly different from conditions that existed prior to the initiation of treatment of the Gold King Mine discharge when the plant was constructed in 2015. At this time, EPA expects no impacts to downstream drinking water or agricultural users associated with the short-term shutdown of the plant. Any impacts will be localized in nature and will be largely limited to aquatic life in the Animas River Canyon south of Silverton.

March 16, 2019

From the Environmental Protection Agency - Region 8

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency restored power to the Interim Water Treatment Plant (IWTP) at the Bonita Peak Superfund site in Gladstone, Colorado and resumed normal operations.  The facility had been offline since the evening of March 14 due to extreme weather conditions resulting in a loss of power. Crews were able to safely access the plant this morning, and the plant is now operating normally.

During the temporary closure of the IWTP, the additional metals loading into the Animas River was not significantly different from conditions that existed prior to the initiation of treatment of the Gold King Mine discharge when the plant was constructed in 2015. At this time, EPA expects no impacts to downstream drinking water or agricultural users associated with the short-term shutdown of the plant. Any impacts will be localized in nature and will be largely limited to aquatic life in the Animas River Canyon south of Silverton.

While the Gold King Mine is a significant source of metals contamination, and one of EPA's priority sites in the Bonita Peak Superfund site, it is one of dozens of mines in the Mining District.  When the water treatment plant is operational, it typically removes about 500-600 pounds of metals/day during March.  While data for metals loading in winter months are unavailable, EPA estimates that the Gold King discharge, prior to treatment, represents 15% - 25%, of the total metals load leaving the mining district during low-flow conditions. The majority of these metals are iron and aluminum.

Water samples were taken along the Animas River, near Silverton, Colorado, and results are expected early next week.

More from Local News

  • Reward Offered in Case of Missing Woman

    The reward is to be paid out by a 3rd party, not family members and not the Sheriff’s Office directly. The reward will only be disbursed upon successful recovery of Sasha Krause. The reward is being held by the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Foundation, which is a 501C3, nonprofit organization that supports the Sheriff’s Office volunteer programs. If you have information that may assist in the recovery or location of Sasha Krause, please call the San Juan County Sheriff’s Office Detective Hot Line at 505-333-7878.

  • Man Hit by Car, Body Discovered 4 Hours Later

    On February 6, 2020 at about 3:09 a.m., State Police Officers were dispatched to northbound US550 near milepost 168 in reference to a pedestrian found in the median.  Officers identified the pedestrian as Anthony Cachucha (25) of Farmington, NM.   Through further investigation officers learned Cachucha was struck by a vehicle.  Further investigation officers were able to determine Cachucha was struck by the 2004 Chevrolet officers investigated on February 5th.

  • Farmington to Host 2020 NM Outdoor Economics Conference

    ​​​​​​​The conference has become a popular destination for leaders statewide to discuss ways to grow the state’s multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry. It will include top leaders from government, the outdoor recreation industry, and advocacy organizations, and will feature a wide array of activities, including panel discussions, trips to regional outdoor hot spots, and evening networking receptions.

  • APS: Four Corners Power Plant to Close by 2031

    The goal includes a nearer-term 2030 target of achieving a resource mix that is 65 percent clean energy, with 45 percent of our portfolio coming from renewable energy. APS will end all coal-fired generation by 2031, seven years sooner than previously projected.

  • Deputies Search for Missing Woman

    27-year-old, Sasha Marie Krause was last seen leaving her residence on January 18, 2020 around 8pm and never returned. Sasha’s vehicle was located parked nearby a church in the area where she resides.

  • Shiprock Man Struck and Killed on US 64

     The initial investigation indicated a 2019 Dodge pickup was traveling east on US64.  For reasons unknown a pedestrian, Delbert Atcitty Jr. (38) of Shiprock, NM was struck while walking in the right lane of the roadway by the Dodge.  Atcitty sustained fatal injuries in the crash, and he was pronounced deceased on scene by the Office of the Medical Investigator.

On KSJE Now:

Today's Weather

  • Farmington, NM

    Sunny intervals

    High: 54°F | Low: 25°F

  • Durango, CO

    Sunny intervals

    High: 46°F | Low: 21°F

  • Shiprock, NM

    Sunny intervals

    High: 54°F | Low: 25°F

  • Cortez, CO

    Sunny intervals

    High: 50°F | Low: 19°F

  • Santa Fe, NM

    Light rain shower

    High: 50°F | Low: 28°F