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Gold King Mine blowout: Monday morning update

Mark Duggan

Water tests show the Animas and San Juan rivers are returning to "pre-event" conditions. Now, agencies are banding together to run a "Recovery Center" to help those affected.

Updated at 10:07 p.m. Sunday:


The EPA posted sediment sample data collected from the Animas River from Bakers Bridge to north of Durango. It showed small spikes in levels of antimony, lead, silver, thallium. See the analysis here.

The city of Durango resumed taking river water for treatment Friday afternoon. City officials will continue to monitor water samples, with the results being posted at the city's website.

A “Recovery Center” will be set up at the La Plata County Fairgrounds Exhibit Hall in Durango this Tuesday and Wednesday (August 18-19) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Agency representatives will be available to answer questions for those affected by the Gold King Mine blowout, including financial and/or technical assistance, and questions related to water quality, crops or livestock. Participating agencies include the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, the Small Business Development Center and La Plata County Economic Development Alliance, the Colorado State University Extension Service, and others.

Nearly 150 Navajo Nation residents and officials met with EPA officials over the weekend. Tribal members were able to raise concerns about reimbursement, health impacts, and the availability of water. The EPA says it is providing more than 16,000 gallons of non-potable water per day at 13 locations in the Navajo Nation.

The EPA has released water quality data for the San Juan River between Farmington and Shiprock. The water was tested from August 7 through 9. See the results here. The EPA continues to take water samples at various locations along the San Juan River.

The Unified Command Joint Information Center has set up a blog in an effort to streamline information.

Irrigation ditches along the Animas River have been flushed. Water tests show it meets criteria for agricultural purposes established by the state of Colorado. Meanwhile, EPA teams are still collecting water samples in the Animas, and in shallow, domestic private wells adjacent to the river. New Mexico also opened irrigation ditches along the river Saturday.

The state of New Mexico reopened the Animas and San Juan Rivers to recreation and drinking water systems on Saturday.

The call center continues at 970-385-8700.

Daily information meetings begin again on Monday (August 17) at the Farmington Convention Center.