Official: Gold King Mine spill has not affected Arizona water
PHOENIX — Four days after the Gold King Mine spill caused by the Environmental Protection Agency sent gallons of an orange-ish muck down a Colorado river, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has found that there is no damage to Arizona’s surface, ground or drinking water.
Data collected within 24 hours of the spill showed that contaminant levels were approximately 50 percent lower after moving about 10 miles downstream from the Animas River, according to a recent press release. Lake Powell, where the river first enters Arizona, is located 250 miles further downstream.
Although ADEQ officials believe Arizona is in the clear, they are still taking several precautions to address potential future impacts, such as monitoring the water quality of Glenn Canyon Dam, which flows into Lake Powell, and coordinating with several state agencies to monitor the pollution levels in surrounding areas.
Officials believe an estimated three million gallons of mine waste, which included included high concentrations of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals, was released into Cement Creek Thursday.
Although public outrage followed almost as quickly as the spill itself, EPA toxicologist Deborah McKean said the sludge moved so quickly after the spill that it would not have even “caused significant health effects” to animals that consumed the water.
KTAR News’ Jessica Suerth and The Associated Press contributed to this report.