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article imagePollution from mine worse than previously estimated: EPA

By Nate Smith     Aug 10, 2015 in Environment
Durango - An abandoned Colorado mine has polluted regional streams and rivers with some 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater, Environmental Protection Agency officials acknowledged Sunday.
That figure is over three times the initial reports from government officials since the Gold King Mine's dam initially was breached last Wednesday.
Crews from the EPA botched an effort to clean up the mine last week, allowing for a breach in the dam, which sent downstream an orange sludge that has discolored tributaries for hundreds of emails spanning multiple states.
The mine continues to pour some 548 gallons of toxins per minute into the local waterways. Contaminants include heavy metals such as cadmium, arsenic, copper, lead and zinc.
Residents within the affected area have reported discoloration of drinking water, but the EPA maintains the spill does not pose any harmful threats to humans or wildlife.
Even so, the government is providing clean water to residents in the area, and advises people to neither nor bathe in the contaminated water.
The leak began on Wednesday when EPA crews were called in to examine leaks from the defunct mine.
Government officials aren't yet prepared to estimate how long it could take to clean up the widespread mess.
States of emergency have been declared in Durango, Colo., and La Plata County, Colo.,
More about Epa, Pollution, arsenic spill, Gold mine, polluted water
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