EPA Releases 3 Million Gallons of Toxic Sludge into Southern Colorado River

Matthew 24:10,11 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is coming under fire after first releasing a toxic plume of contaminated mine water into the Animas River and then misleading the public about the size of the spill.

The EPA initially told the public last week the amount of toxic waste, which had turned the Animas River orange, was one million gallons.   The EPA admitted Sunday the spill was actually closer to three million gallons.

On Sunday, Shaun McGrath of the EPA told reporters in a teleconference that the mine is still spilling 500 gallons of toxic water a minute but that its being contained in four lakes near the site of the spill where it can be treated by EPA officials.

EPA tests showed the level of arsenic in the river topped out at 300 times the normal level and lead reached 3,500 times the normal level.  

“Yes, those numbers are high and they seem scary,” Deborah McKean, chief of the EPA Region 8 Toxicology and Human Health and Risk Assessment, told reporters. “But it’s not just a matter of toxicity of the chemicals, it’s a matter of exposure.

Residents who have water wells near the river have been told not to use their water until they can have it tested for the toxic chemicals.  The toxic sludge has been moving downriver into parts of the Navajo Nation indian reservation and into northwest New Mexico.

The EPA has been criticized by state officials in Colorado and New Mexico for failing to report the incident to them.  New Mexicos Governor, Susana Martinez, said that the New Mexico government only learned of the spill when local indian nation officials reported something was wrong with the river.

“It’s completely irresponsible for the EPA not to have informed New Mexico immediately,” she said after flying over the affected rivers.

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