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Fish Kill

That plume won't be stopping in Durango, what a disaster. I hope there are still Native fish to protect in the San Juan after this, otherwise they'll just run the San Juan dry during irrigation season...

On the bright side it would have cost a lot of money to clean all that wastewater but now it's just been dumped in to the river for free.
 

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Wow, sounds like the EPA inadvertantly released this contaminated water while investigating the abandoned mine, thats messed up, wonder what exactly they were doing that released it.
 

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Thick, radiant orange? That's awful. Probably too short of a time frame, but they could try to temporarily divert it and try to siphon it out before it contaminates too much... Sort of like when they divert the river to install a bridge or a culvert...
 

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Going to be very interesting to find out what the EPA did, it's not like someone was walking on the earthen dam and it collapsed. Will this flow unhindered into Powell? Worse time for it to as there isn't much to dilute it....
 

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Going to be very interesting to find out what the EPA did, it's not like someone was walking on the earthen dam and it collapsed. Will this flow unhindered into Powell? Worse time for it to as there isn't much to dilute it....
According to the article, they were investigating contamination with heavy machinery and disturbed(my word) some unconsolidated debris that was holding the contaminants back. Sounds like an accident...
 

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I would expect burec to start dumping water out of Navajo to dilute it as it hits the San Juan.

Does any one in the area have any info on the state of things? Are dead fish visible yet?
 

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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.
 

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FYI we increased Navajo's release this morning, in hopes of diluting the water as it hits the San Juan and pushing the plume downstream faster. It's a coordinated effort between Reclamation and the SJRIP (FWS). The release will go up to 1300 by 11am today, and will remain at this level at least through the weekend. There were many factors that went into making this rapid response decision, at this level and at this timing. I pasted the press release below.

Susan

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Susan Novak Behery, P.E.
Hydraulic Engineer
Reclamation
Western Colorado Area Office
Durango, CO
[email protected]
970-385-6560

BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
NAVAJO RESERVOIR RELEASES

SENT VIA FAX AND E-MAIL
August 6, 2015



As a result of a recent mine waste accident occurring high in the Animas River Basin, the Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled an increase in the release from Navajo Reservoir from 650 to 1,300 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Friday, August 7, beginning at 7:00 a.m. as requested by the San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program. This release will occur in 2-hour increments, reaching 1,300 cfs by 11:00 am. This release will be ramped back down to 650 cfs on Monday, August 10th, beginning at 7:00 a.m.

Releases are made for the authorized purposes of the Navajo Unit, and to attempt to maintain a target base flow through the endangered fish critical habitat reach of the San Juan River (Farmington to Lake Powell).

The San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program recommends a target base flow of between 500 cfs and 1,000 cfs through the critical habitat area. The target base flow is calculated as the weekly average of gaged flows throughout the critical habitat area.

This scheduled release change is subject to changes in river flows and weather conditions. If you have any questions, please contact Susan Behery at 970-385-6560 or [email protected].
 

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This is just tragic news for one of my favorite rivers. Hopefully it will wash out, maybe a few really big monsoon rains would help....

Any sign of fish kill yet, can't imagine anything would survive that?
 

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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.
Its already hit the national news circuit from NPR to HuffPo; I heard it on my local NPR channel today.

No way the EPA is going to walk away from this unscathed and I bet at least a couple people will loose their jobs over the incompetent move, even though it was accidental. I support consequences for personnel and agencies in these situations but any calls for fines at the agency level will just be counterproductive.

That said, I also think it exposes the problems of the extraction industry and how easy it has been for them to walk away from their problems in the past. There is also an article about how Silverton residents have fought tooth and nail to prevent SuperFund designation because of how it would affect their image and tourism. If Superfund status would have happened more money and personnel would have been allocated to deal with the plethora of abandoned mines in that area long ago.

Phillip
 

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This is just tragic news for one of my favorite rivers. Hopefully it will wash out, maybe a few really big monsoon rains would help....

Any sign of fish kill yet, can't imagine anything would survive that?
Yeah, that is way too much pollution to not affect aquatic invertebrates and fish. That stretch of river won't be the same for years to come. What a horrible situation.

Phillip
 
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