Treating the water

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The water is then piped to the Red and Bonita Mine treatment ponds. The water is treated for three hours before it flows into Cement Creek. The Red and Bonita ponds are the primary treatment location for the water now – the emergency ponds that were built after the spill are not ideal for long-term treatment and are being limitedly used.
The water still flowing from the mine comes down the mountain to a treatment box (above) where the EPA adds lime – a white caustic alkaline substance consisting of calcium oxide, obtained by heating limestone – into the mine water to raise the acidity (pH), which facilitates the sedimentation of metals. Constant monitoring of pH helps determine the amount of lime added.
The EPA is now in a time crunch, the winter months are approaching and accessing the treatment ponds in their current locations will be near impossible. The EPA is constructing new treatment ponds down from the mountain for easier access and hopes to have them finished by the beginning of October. The new treatment ponds will treat the water for five hours before it flows into Cement Creek.
Southern Ute EPD and members from the Environmental Protection Agency discuss the cleanup process of the mine. The EPA hopes to get the mine sturdy enough to enter, so they can figure out where the current flow of water is coming from.
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
Trennie Collins | The Southern Ute Drum
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The Southern Ute Environmental Programs Division took a tour of the Gold King Mine site Wednesday, Sept. 2 to see how the current flow of mine water is being treated. One month out from the spill, water still flowing out of the mine isn’t unusual, but Peter Butler, of the Animas Stakeholder Group, said that the amount of water still coming out the mine is perplexing.

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