SILVERTON, Colo. — Oct. 20, 2015 — A temporary water treatment plant is now operating at the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, according to a press release.
The abandoned mine was the site of a spill in August which inundated the Animas River in southern Colorado with three million gallons of contaminated water, noted the release. The incident was triggered by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contractors working at the mine.
Under a contract with the EPA, Alexco Environmental Group (AEG) has completed building and started operating a 1,200 gallon per minute (gpm) interim water treatment facility at the mine, stated the release. AEG, part of Alexco Resource Corp., specializes in providing mine-related environmental services, remediation technologies and reclamation and mine closure services.
The water treatment plant at the Gold King Mine is capable of dealing with water treatment residuals (sludge) during cold weather and has a highly automated plant-wide control system, enabling 24-hour operation at low cost and high reliability.
It has the flexibility to utilize diverse sources of low-cost alkalinity (lime or kiln dust) and is currently operating under complete automation in the 600 gpm to 1,200 gpm range. According to AEG, the plant is achieving metals removal well in excess of the contractual standard of 85 percent.
During the next four weeks AEG will optimize the plant’s operations and further prepare it for the harsh winter conditions expected at 10,500 feet in the San Juan Mountains, reported the release.
In an update published on Monday, the EPA reported that metal concentrations in surface water and sediment along the Animas River are now below recreational screening levels, although concentrations may fluctuate due to weather and other events.
The agency will continue to monitor for abnormally high levels of metals in the river.
Click here to read the entire release.