Southern Ute Tribal Members are asked to avoid contact with or use of the Animas River until the pulse of water released from the Gold King Mine near Silverton passes.
The acidic mine water associated with the release contains high levels of sediment and metals. Tribal staff from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Programs Division are conducting sampling and visual observations today and will be monitoring river conditions over the next several days. The water associated with the release is obvious and highly discolored.
This mine waste water was sighted at Weasel Skin Bridge (south of Durango) early this morning. It is estimated that the water contamination could last several days.
The water in Ignacio is safe to drink because it comes from the Los Pinos (Pine) River which is not affected by this incident. The Los Pinos River gets its water from Vallecito Reservoir and is not part of the Animas River system.
The Office of the Chairman asks that all Tribal Members avoid contact with the Animas River until further notice. All agricultural water users have been notified to shut off water intake. It is recommended that pet owners keep their dogs and livestock out of the Animas River until further testing can be done to determine the content of the waste water.
Information regarding the Animas River will be posted as it becomes available.