EPA taking 1st big step to clean up leaking Colorado mines

New Mexico
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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to take the first major steps this summer to clean up wastewater flowing from dozens of old mines in southwestern Colorado.

The EPA said Thursday the work will include dredging contaminated sediment from streambeds, diverting water from tainted mine waste piles and covering up contaminated soil at campgrounds.

The agency first outlined the plan last June and finalized it Thursday.

This summer’s work is aimed at keeping toxic heavy metals from flowing into rivers while the agency searches for a more comprehensive solution under the Superfund program.

The cleanup was prompted by a 2015 wastewater spill at the inactive Gold King mine near Silverton, which was inadvertently triggered by an EPA-led contractor crew. Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah were affected.

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