Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-07-2015   #21
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,909
Here's the AW press release on the spill:

Colorado Mine Accident Closes Animas River

Apparently Cement Creek and the Animas below Silverton were already pretty dead due to the chronic problems with the mine drainage there.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
Andy H. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2015   #22
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 96
The fishing in Durango below Smelter Rapid on the Animas is gold medal water for trout I believe. Or was...

Floatin mucho is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2015   #23
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 728
This happened in Leadville back in about 1984, the Arkansas ran that color all the way to Pueblo Res. EPA stepped in and hello Superfund Site. 30 years later the AHRA was 'awarded' gold medal status. Not sure how long it took to get a viable fishery going again, but things seemed ok when I started boating in Brown's shortly after the incident. The lead and especially the zinc in the sludge had the most significant impact on the fishery, as they are very hard on the bugs, thus reducing the food supply for the fish. Will have to wait and see what's exactly in that slug of orange water, but I'd guess it will be a couple years of diminished water quality at the least. Here's hoping for a little luck with what contaminants are involved.
DoStep is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2015   #24
Tyrrache's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 93
The solution to pollution... Here's hoping for a heavy snowpack in the San Juan's this winter
Tyrrache is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2015   #25
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3
Here's a good summary including EPA's fact sheet providing background, need, and anticipated results of the (failed) project. To sum up: Silverton had long battled superfund designation fearing negative impacts on it's tourist economy. EPA and Silverton agreed to avoid superfund designation contingent on cleanup of the mines (that have been increasingly leaking into the river). EPA was going to plug a different mine and, aware that such actions would affect the nearby mines, began taking actions to replace the Golden King mine's "unconsolidated debri" (aka not concreted loose dirt and rocks) plug with a permanent one that could be used to measure impacts of the project. They expected water to be behind the plug, but not 12' high and under pressure. Once the plug was compromised there was no stopping the hydrostatic head. This would've happened on it's own had the plug not been bothered. It's Incredibly unfortunate they hadn't been prepared for such a scenario. The river is... it's bad right now. Hopefully this is the last straw and Silverton will get its deserved designation and large scale cleanup of ALL the dirty mines will get going.
Hunderman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2015   #26
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 3
Hunderman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2015   #27
SLC, Utah
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 51
Originally Posted by okieboater View Post
If any other organization dumped this killer stuff in a major river, the EPA and talking heads would take that organization down. Plus enormous fines.

My bet is the EPA will get a pass on this and zero people will get penalized for this screw up. Local paper reports but will the major news outlets do the same.

Big time double standard here.
Actually, if a large energy or mining company did this, they'd have a small fine assessed, appeal that, and never actually pay it.....
paulster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2015   #28
Issip's Avatar
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 185
Native Fish

Thanks Hunderman, it seemed incredible at first, but given how it happened it all makes sense.

I haven't seen any news on fish kill, the Ph drop seemed pretty severe to me, but I'm not a wildlife biologist so I have no idea what Ph fish can tolerate. The native fish can generally handle some silt (although the Dolores recently saw a huge fish kill from just normal flashflood runoff silt).

Normally I am against dilution as the solution to pollution. In general we've filled up the planet such that concentrations are building everywhere and there's no more room for dilution, however in this case I think releasing water from Navajo is the best chance for the native species in the lower San Juan to survive and I'm glad to see the quick response.

I hope they are working overtime - they may need to start working on an emergency fish recovery before the plume reaches Shiprock or this little mess could end some species. Best of luck to the speckled dice, bluehead sucker and speckled chub and/or whatever's left of the fish that existed before the dams.

I'm also curious if they're going to close the San Juan permit sections... anyone launching this weekend?
Issip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2015   #29
Minden, Nevada
Paddling Since: 1961
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 52
Waste release

This is an unfortunate accident. I am a retired environmental consultant and worked on mining projects throughout my career. Most of the issues with mines are from those that were mined pre-law, before the 1970s as they were largely unregulated. Since that time, there are lots of laws on the books to control environmental degradation. It takes about 40-50 permits in place in order to legally move any earth. Mining companies are required to put up large bonds to ensure that they are in compliance.

Extractive industries like mining and logging supply our economy with raw materials, that people use every day. They supply important jobs in rural economies. We are fortunate to have a society that emphasizes environmental quality.

The Animas R will recover quickly. Most of the visible color in the river is from suspended sediment. The residence time of the pulse of contaminated water can be measured in hours, maybe a couple of days. It is being diluted with increased flows from Navajo Res. The river and the aquatic life that depends on it are likely to recover quickly.
ppine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2015   #30
Durango, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 63
As one of the kayakers in the photo published by the Durango Herald, and now in the national spotlight, I have to say its quite disturbing when reaching the take out to hear from a photographer that you just paddled through toxic acid mine release. The 3 of us launched into Baker's Box (Pandora's box) thinking the discoloration was from a heavy rain event near Silverton. Its not that unusual for the river to discolor during such times, or heavy runoff. I'm going to be pissed if I don't get spiderman powers out of this one...
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	IMG_1035 copy.jpg
Views:	281
Size:	1.25 MB
ID:	10368  

DES is offline   Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Topic Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Another waste of your money... yarmonymatoid The Eddy 8 06-23-2009 10:45 AM
Waste Not, Want Not JBL The Eddy 1 03-24-2008 03:29 PM
Naming a stadium after a nuclear waste company basil The Eddy 8 11-29-2006 06:49 PM
Restop: bag containment system for human waste laranik Commercial Posts 1 04-06-2005 03:40 PM
Explosion at Waste Management Adjacent to Union twitch River Access & Safety Alerts! 0 08-01-2004 07:48 PM

» Classified Ads
2016 Demo SolJah 7'...

posted by 4CRS

Used 2016 SolJah 7' Inflatable River Surfer Stand Up...

2" Seat Riser Kit for NRS...

posted by penguin

Ever feel like you sit low in your NRS oar frame? I did, so...

Jackson Zen Small Orange

posted by Rendezvous River Sports

Shipping cost varies based on your location! This boat...

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2012 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:49 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.