Emergency Response to August 2015 Release from Gold King Mine
On August 5, 2015, EPA was conducting an investigation of the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, to:
- assess the on-going water releases from the mine,
- treat mine water, and
- assess the feasibility of further mine remediation.
While excavating above the old adit, pressurized water began leaking above the mine tunnel, spilling about three million gallons of water stored behind the collapsed material into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.
EPA is working closely with first responders and local and state officials to ensure the safety of citizens to water contaminated by the spill. The agency has activated its Emergency Operations Center to ensure coordination among its regions, laboratories and national program offices in Washington DC. EPA is closely coordinating with the officials in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Southern Ute tribe and Navajo Nation. EPA is taking the lead on efforts to contain the leak and flow from the mine is now controlled. EPA has also deployed federal On-Scene Coordinators and other technicians in Colorado, New Mexico and Navajo Nation to assist with preparations and first response activities in these jurisdictions. EPA is sharing information as quickly as possible with the community as experts work to analyze any effects the spill may have on drinking water and public health.