KUNM

EPA: River Is Bouncing Back

Aug 12, 2015

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency has ordered agency offices nationwide to stop field investigation work for mine cleanups while they reassess the work to ensure there's no potential for spills similar to the one in Colorado.

The announcement comes a week after an EPA-supervised crew accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of wastewater from an old mine into a tributary of the Animas River.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the change Wednesday in Durango saying there’s been some good news about the Gold King Mine spill. 

"The data so far is showing that water quality does restore itself to its prior conditions," McCarthy said, "and so we’re going to be using that lesson as we move downstream to make sure that we do the testing we need to do and we provide information to decision makers that they are looking for EPA to make - that is, high quality and reliable science."

In New Mexico, around 15,000 acres of farmland along the Animas and San Juan rivers before they enter the Navajo Nation haven’t been irrigated since the rivers were closed last week and farmers there are concerned about the spill’s deposits on riverbanks, and in canals and ditches.