Wednesday, April 6, 2016

EPA Wants Gold King Mine on Superfund List

Roswell Site Gets Superfund Listing; Gold King Mine Next

BY DENNIS DOMRZALSKI The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday added a contaminated groundwater site in Roswell to its Superfund cleanup site list, and proposed making the Gold King Mine area in southern Colorado a Superfund site. The listing of the Roswell site makes it eligible for federal cleanup dollars. A spill at the Gold King mine near Silverton last August sent 3 million gallons of yellowish water contaminated with heavy metals into the Animas River and into New Mexico. It shut down activity on the river for days and forced farmers in New Mexico to stop irrigating crops with river water for a while. The New Mexico Environment Department has threatened to sue the EPA over the spill, which was caused when an EPA contractor breached an earthen plug that had been holding back water in the abandoned mine. A NMED spokeswoman said the agency was pleased that the EPA had proposed the area for its Superfund listing and that it had put the Roswell site on the Superfund list. The Lea and West Second Street groundwater plume in Roswell was added to the Superfund site. The area's groundwater and soil is contaminated with tetrachloroethylene and other volatile organic compounds—waste from dry cleaning and concrete operations in the 1950s and 1960s. When the Roswell site was proposed for the Superfund list last September, EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry said, “By addressing this contamination, we can reduce risks for Roswell families sand promote future economic development.” The EPA said that nationwide, more than 850 Superfund sites have some type of actual or planned reuse underway. Dennis Domrzalski is news editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at (Photo credit:

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