Gold King spill is a wake-up call

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Gold King spill is a wake-up call

Blowout focuses attention on abandoned mine problem
Dawn breaks over Durango on Aug. 7, 2015, revealing the orange sludge in the Animas River after it was contaminated by Gold King Mine wastewater two days earlier.
Water flows through a series of retention ponds built to contain and filter out heavy metals and chemicals from runoff coming from the Gold King Mine, north of Silverton. The Environmental Protection Agency funded a temporary water-treatment plant at the mine, eliminating the need for the retention ponds.
At a glance
Abandoned mines

The Bureau of Land Management estimates nearly 500,000 abandoned mines across the U.S.
A 2011 Government Accountability Office analysis found: Of roughly 161,000 abandoned hardrock mines across the 12 western states and Alaska, at least 33,000 were reportedly leaking contaminants into nearby lands and waterways.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates 40 percent of western waterways are impacted by acid mine drainage.
Estimated cost to remediate these mines is $36 billion to $72 billion.
Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety estimates 23,000 abandoned mine sites in the state. Of these, the BLM reports more than 2,700 mines are on public lands.
Colorado health officials report leakage from 230 identified abandoned mines has contaminated about 1,645 miles of state waterways.

Gold King spill is a wake-up call

Dawn breaks over Durango on Aug. 7, 2015, revealing the orange sludge in the Animas River after it was contaminated by Gold King Mine wastewater two days earlier.
Water flows through a series of retention ponds built to contain and filter out heavy metals and chemicals from runoff coming from the Gold King Mine, north of Silverton. The Environmental Protection Agency funded a temporary water-treatment plant at the mine, eliminating the need for the retention ponds.
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