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EPA wants to keep Gold King Mine treatment plant running after mine spill

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Posted at 8:16 AM, Nov 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-23 10:16:32-05

SILVERTON, Colo. -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wants to keep operating a temporary wastewater treatment plant near the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado while it looks for longer-term solutions after a massive spill at the mine last year.

The EPA announced its intentions last week, and a final decision will be made next month.

The move was expected.

The plant began operating in October 2015, about 10 weeks after an EPA-led crew inadvertently triggered a 3-million-gallon spill of wastewater from the mine while doing preliminary cleanup work.

The spill tainted rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah, including three Indian reservations in those states.

The Environmental Protection Agency said the plant is processing up to 800 gallons per minute, including water flowing from the mine and water stored in ponds.

The EPA is looking at long-term cleanup solutions for the Gold King and other nearby mining sites. The area was designated a Superfund site in September.