Gold King Mine toxic spill. Courtesy photo
SANTA FE – A contaminated plume from the Gold King Mine toxic spill is expected to pass the Aztec/Farmington area this evening, according to New Mexico Environment Department.
The spill occurred Wednesday when an EPA team probing contamination at the abandoned mine accidentally released a million gallons of orange-hued waste water into a local river system, according to the EPA. The waste water contains sediment and metals that had been held behind a barrier near the mine. It spilled into Cement Creek, which flows into the Animas River in San Juan County.
Several workers in the EPA crew using heavy equipment to pump and treat the waste water when the breach occurred were unharmed, according to EPA reports.
NMED and the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer today reminded water users along the Animas River to stop taking water during this spill. NMED said in a statement this morning that New Mexico continues to seek contamination constituent information from the Environmental Protection Agency.