- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - Last week’s water contamination incident at a western Colorado Superfund site involved a different contractor than August’s Gold King Mine spill, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Contractor HDR Engineering is overseeing work at the Standard Mine near Crested Butte, where about 600 gallons of contaminated water spilled into a creek on Oct. 6, reported The Durango Herald (https://bit.ly/1LIpRkm ).

HDR Engineering had subcontracted the work to Harrison Western, which in turn subcontracted to Southwestern Systems Inc. for vacuum truck operations.

In last week’s incident, a vacuum truck was pumping water from the Standard Mine’s holding pond and accidentally dipped into gray-colored sediment, which led to the sediment-bearing water being discharged into Elk Creek.

The material spilled in Elk Creek contained pH-neutral pulverized rock slurry and water from the mine. Officials do not think there is contamination of drinking water of the creek as a result.

The EPA originally reported that as many as 2,000 gallons of contaminated water may have been spilled, but has since but the number between 500 and 500 gallons.

HDR is the second EPA contractor to have problems with mine restoration work in recent months. In early August, Environmental Restoration LLC made an error during an excavation at Gold King Mine near Silverton. That mistake caused an estimated 3 million gallons of mining sludge to flow into the Animas River, turning it yellow-orange.

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Information from: Durango Herald, https://www.durangoherald.com


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