Entrance to the Gold King Mine. (Credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
In August of 2015, the Gold King Mine in Colorado experienced a spill that released a plume of toxic waste into the Animas River. The Environmental Monitor covered the efforts led by researchers at New Mexico State University to gather baseline data before the plume passed their region.
Back then, the measurements were so new that scientists hadn’t yet had a chance to analyze them. But enough time has passed, including periods where scientists gathered data during and after the plume, that they are able to report some early findings.
Those are that the levels of heavy metals being monitored are within federal standards. Only when rainwater increases the river’s water levels do the metal levels increase briefly from leaching riverbank contamination. During and since the entire disaster, there has been no decrease in fish populations. And soil samples have not found heavy metals in farm fields.
Top image: Entrance to the Gold King Mine. (Credit: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)