Gold King Mine wastewater contaminating the rivers once again
The plant that treats the wastewater that drains from the Gold King Mine has failed.
That message was sent to the New Mexico Environment Department on Thursday by the State of Utah.
The failure led to a power loss, which was caused by heavy snowfall, wrote Utah officials.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate Amber Crotty sent a message to farmers along the San Juan River on Friday, urging them to close their intakes if they were open.
“The Gold King Mine treatment facility failed,” she wrote.
Wastewater from the mine was currently bypassing the facility at a rate of 250 to 300 gallons per minute, according to estimates by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The treatment facility was put into operation after the 2015 spill that dumped millions of gallons of hazardous wastewater into the river system, contaminating the water for farmers, ranchers and Navajo communities in New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.
Crotty said repair work might not happen for a couple of days and warned the everyone living along the river.
“Take extra precautions now to reduce mine wastewater from entering your drinking water systems,” Crotty said.
Officials have said affected communities have been notified and have been advised to take protective measures, such as “shutting off intake points for drinking water systems.”
“Residents relying on the San Juan and Animas rivers for potable or agricultural purposes should take appropriate precautions,” officials wrote.
Officials said a team from the U.S. Geological Survey was going to be sent to areas along the San Juan and Animas to collect water and sediment samples.