And we thought the Gold King Mine was the last we’d heard of EPA sponsored mine cleanup mishaps for the remainder of the year…
According to the Denver Post, an EPA cleanup crew accidentally released approximately 2,000 gallons of toxic wastewater from The Standard Mine, which is located just outside of Crested Butte, CO. The leak, which contains toxic cadmium as well as other harmful metals eventually spilled into Elk Creek, which is a tributary of Coal Creek. Coal Creek is a primary water source for the town of Crested Butte.
So far, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is saying the toxins in Coal Creek exceed state standards.
The mine itself has been a target for cleanup since 2005 and although work was halted after the Gold King Mine spill earlier this summer, work began again on the Standard Mine in early September. So far, reports indicate that a truck went too low while vacuuming water from a waste-water reservoir within the mine, which lead to the toxic water spilling into Elk Creek.
Other than spilling cancer triggering agents into the town’s water source, the EPA seems to have a problem notifying the public of its mishaps. Although the EPA claims to have told public works officials about the spill as soon as it had happened, the mayor of Crested Butte says he didn’t know anything till Thursday.
At the time, EPA officials said, “Subsequent investigation found no visible plume or signs of significant impacts in downstream locations,” which contradicts the findings by state organizations.