EPA resumes work at Colorado mine spill site

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is resuming the Colorado mine cleanup work that caused a massive mine waste spill last year.

EPA contractors will begin the work Saturday to stabilize the abandoned Gold King Mine. Work will continue through October, the agency said Friday.

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The stabilization effort last August caused 3 million gallons of waste sludge — with harmful heavy metals like arsenic and beryllium — to flow into a tributary of the Animas River, turning it bright orange and causing its closure for days.

The EPA took responsibility for the spill, and subsequent investigations have found that a contractor didn’t take the necessary measures that could have discovered that high-pressure waste sludge could have spilled.

The agency has dedicated millions of dollars to help those hurt by the spill, but multiple governments are suing the EPA nonetheless.

A memo issued in March is governing the consultation process for mine stabilization work, with the goal of preventing and mitigating future spills.

For Gold King, the EPA has prepared and reviewed site-specific work plans, assessed the potential for a spill and designed a contingency plan, the agency said.

The work beginning Saturday also includes measures like cleaning the retention pond built after last year’s spill and disposing of the waste that has built up there.