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EPA plans treatment plant at Silverton mine

Posted at 7:22 AM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-16 09:22:51-04

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to build a wastewater treatment plant for an inactive Colorado gold mine after the agency inadvertently triggered a 3-million-gallon spill of polluted water there last month.

The EPA released documents Tuesday outlining plans to quickly build the plant below the Gold King Mine near Silverton.

On August 5, workers with the EPA triggered a breach at the Gold King Mine outside Silverton in San Juan County.

The breach released more than three million gallons of water containing lead, arsenic and other metals into Cement Creek, which flowed into the Animas River and continued downstream past Durango, into New Mexico and Utah. The Senate Environment Committee holds a hearing on the incident Wednesday, one of several planned by Congress.

Wastewater was flowing from the mine before the blowout. The EPA says it's still spilling out at about 600 gallons per minute.

The documents don't say how much the plant will cost. The agency said last week it had spent about $8 million on the cleanup.