In August 2015, three million gallons of contaminated mining wastewater broke through a plug of rock and debris at the mouth of an entrance to the defunct Gold King Mine outside Silverton, Colorado, while EPA subcontractors were examining it for remediation purposes. The heavy-metals-laden water cascaded into a creek feeding the Animus River, turning it lurid orange, and from there gushed into the San Juan, which flows through several states and Native American nations, including the Navajo Nation. This is just one of thousands of abandoned mines in the Western United States leaking contaminated water, many of them Superfund sites. This panel will use the Gold King Mine spill to illustrate the scope of the problem and give tips on how to mine Superfund documents and archives for crucial environmental stories.
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