DURANGO, Colo. (CBS4)– The Environmental Protection Agency is promising to “make it right” when it comes to the wastewater contamination of the Animas River.
EPA director Gina McCarthy said her agency will halt all mine reclamation projects nationwide until a full review of what went wrong at the Gold King Mine can be completed.READ MORE: Worker Installing Sewage Line Killed After Trench Collapses, Trapping Man in Rising Water
“Reason for being here is because the EPA does take full responsibility,” said McCarthy. “We want to make sure we are looking at all other mines so no similar activities are put on hold.”
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Her visit to Durango and public statements come one week after an EPA-supervised crew accidentally unleashed 3 million gallons of wastewater from an old mine that flowed into the Animas River.
McCarthy said the latest water testing results show that the river in Durango has returned to its former condition. That’s something that Gov. John Hickenlooper confirmed on Tuesday.
“No agency could be more upset about this. We are dedicated to get things back and make it right,” said McCarthy.
Even though the Animas River is clearing and the levels have returned to normal, the river remains closed to the public until further notice.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman wants to make sure the EPA holds up their promises.
“We all have to be cautious about the language and circumspect that we use and that we give our federal partners the opportunity to do the right thing,” said Coffman.
New Mexico’s attorney general says communities affected contaminated wastewater that spilled from a Colorado mine have anywhere from seven to 50 days of drinking water in storage tanks and reservoirs.
Hector Balderas says the towns are anxious for the release of sampling results from the Animas and San Juan rivers. He spoke Wednesday after meeting with local officials in Farmington, New Mexico. He was headed to Durango, Colorado, to meet with his counterparts from that state and Utah.
Communities in northwestern New Mexico and on the Navajo Reservation have made plans to access other sources of water, but Balderas said his office is among those pressuring federal officials to get better data and release it in a timely manner.
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Balderas says that because there are questions about the safety of the river, it’s too early to guess at the true costs of what he called an unfortunate disaster.