SANTA FE – San Juan County officials along with New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary Ryan Flynn and New Mexico State Engineer Tom Blaine held two informational meetings Friday on the Gold King Mine Spill coursing through the Animas River.
San Juan County communities and news media were updated with the most current information on state and local responses, with information on the movement of the sediment and on currently imposed public safety precautions.
“The New Mexico Environment Department is on the ground taking independent water quality samples every six hours at the Animas River at Aztec, at Farmington, and at the San Juan River confluence until Sunday at 9.am. The independent data will provide New Mexicans with the information needed to help determine the length of time that the Gold King Mine Spill plume will affect water quality,” Secretary Flynn said. “We believe this information will complement and corroborate the data being obtained by the Environmental Protection Agency.”
The Environment Department is working to arrange for well water testing for affected residents, and is in the process of mobilizing staff and testing equipment. More details will follow as arrangements are finalized.
Releases from the reservoir on the Navajo Nation are to occur soon and will increase the Animas River flows from 650 cubic feet per second to 1,300 cubic feet per second, according to reports from the Environment Department. “Although dilution of the plume will help to diminish its harmful effects, it will not resolve the safety risks still posed. We have issued precautions for water users to guide them safely through this period of time.”
Another meeting with Flynn, Blaine and representatives from San Juan County, City of Farmington and City of Aztec, community leaders, stakeholders and concerned citizens is set for noon today in at the Farmington Civic Center Exhibit Hall, 200 W. Arrington.
Visit www.NMEDRiverWaterSafety.org for continuing updates and informational resources associated with the New Mexico Environment Department’s activities to inform and protect communities affected by Wednesday’s EPA Gold King Mine Spill.