The Animas River in Colorado shortly after the Gold King Mine waste water spill. (Credit: Riverhugger/CC BY-SA 4.0)
After the accidental Gold King Mine spill in Colorado, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is taking a two-pronged approach to clean it up, according to a Scientific American article. EPA workers accidentally dislodged a wall holding back the wastewater while trying to stop acidic water leakage into Cement Creek.
To treat the spill site, experts recommend dilution and treatment. The EPA dug out four ponds below the breached mine wall and filled them with caustic soda and lime to reduce the water’s acidity. Additionally, as the wastewater spreads to larger areas of water, its acidity will continue to decrease.
The agency reports that treated water was cleaner and less acidic than the water in Cement Creek prior to the spill. The EPA and other agencies will continue to monitor water quality and wildlife downstream from the mine.