Mine Tunnel Blowouts
Wow, some of the toxicity in the bleachers rivals what's in the river. I gotta wonder what the point of fining the EPA would be. Maybe take money away from the group that was working on the Gold King cleanup, so then they'd be forced to try to do the same job, even more safely, with less money to do it with? Doesn't sound very sensible to me, but then there's not much sense in spite and malice.
I just happened to be talking with a former colleague who worked on the Argo Tunnel cleanup. He once worked for the EPA contractor that designed and built the water treatment plant that cleans up ~250 gpm of water draining from that tunnel. Now fish can live in Clear Creek. He was saying that back in the 50s or 60s, the Argo tunnel blew out with enough pressure that, according to newspaper accounts, the jet of water blasting out of the shaft extended across Clear Creek, and the metals-laden killed killed fish all the way downstream to Arvada. According to this story
, the Argo Tunnel was 12 feet wide at the mouth. Just did a search on it and didn't find anything from that period but did find a reference
In 1985, a surge of contaminated water from the Yak Tunnel near Leadville killed aquatic life for 60 miles in the Arkansas River, and a 1943 blowout at the Argo tunnel near Idaho Springs killed four workers...
Interesting note on the Leadville tunnel discharge that is probably the same alluded to above in this thread. My colleague was probably thinking of the 1943 blowout at Argo.
Hopefully the Gold King blow out won't be as bad as either of these. At least no one was killed.
Something else that occurred to me is that with the stigma of Superfund designation, also come restrictions on lending (banks aren't thrilled to loan money to buy property in a Superfund site) and other activities. So it's natural for communities to work to avoid the designation. I once spent years working on a site where the host city implemented a special tax district (TIF) to head up the cleanup rather than have EPA designate a Superfund site there.