EPA says stabilization work resuming at Gold King Mine

EPA’s contractor will continue work through October 2016.

Colorado's Gold King Mine was the site of a wastewater spill in 2015.
Colorado's Gold King Mine was the site of a wastewater spill in 2015.

WASHINGTON, DC, JULY 18, 2016 -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is mobilizing contractors to complete work started last fall at the Gold King Mine. This work involves the continued stabilization of the mine adit, as well as additional stabilization of the mine waste pile located in front of the adit. EPA’s contractor will begin this work on Saturday, July 9, and will continue work through October 2016.

EPA anticipates that the interim water treatment plant at Gladstone will continue to capture and treat any discharge from the mine. However, should any of this work impact downstream watersheds, EPA will notify stakeholders in accordance with the Gold King Mine Stakeholders Alert and Notification Plan available on EPA’s website.

The planned work activities include:

  • Continue work outside of the Gold King Mine (GKM) adit and portal by installing steel bracing and concrete.

  • Work with San Juan County to develop a plan for managing road dust from vehicle traffic related to cleanup activities.

  • Implement the GKM Stakeholders Alert and Notification Plan with updates as needed.

  • Continue to operate the interim water treatment plant (IWTP) at Gladstone to treat discharge from GKM adit.

  • Remove solids from the retention ponds and filter bags at the IWTP and place them in the nearby drying area, which was constructed in June 2016.

  • Transport and dispose of dry solids from the IWTP at a local repository (if one is available) or landfill.

  • Conduct an analysis of alternatives to continued operation of the IWTP and engage the public in the process.

EPA issued a memorandum in March 2016 establishing a consultation process to help its regional offices prepare for work at hardrock mining and mineral processing sites with possible fluid hazards. The memo includes precautionary measures intended to prevent the type of event that occurred at GKM on Aug. 5, 2015, including headquarters technical consultation. The consultation process for GKM has been completed, including review of site-specific work plans, a technical assessment of the potential for a fluid release, and verification of a carefully designed and coordinated contingency plan.

For more information, visit www.epa.gov/goldkingmine/

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