Colorado River


Michael Nguyen, Staff Writer/ Ad business manager

On August 5th, 2015, the Colorado River was contaminated partially by wastewater filled with minerals such as zinc and iron because of the careless actions of the Environmental Protection Agency.

This catastrophe was caused by the surging of the contaminated water into the Animas River which connects to the Colorado River. The EPA is in charge of the draining of contaminated water from the inactive Gold King Mine above the town of Silverton. The contaminated water was assumed to be over one million gallons in spillage, but during the span of a few days it accumulated to three million gallons of minerals because of the drainage continuing to spill. Since the spillage was filled with minerals from an old mine that was used to uncover gold and such, the water was completely yellow. This yellow water went  into the Animas River when dumped and turned it completely yellow which raised many concerns over the Colorado River’s water source and the inhabitants of the 1,450 mile long river. Since the Colorado River travels through Colorado, Mexico, Utah, Arizona, and California, it raised many concerns because all three states would be affected.

On the LA Times, a interview was conducted by a woman named Keena Kimmel, who visits the Colorado River frequently said, “Years ago I was passing through on the way to Oregon and ended up staying because it was so beautiful,” she said, gazing over the vacant waters. I can’t believe what’s happened. I guess I’m still kind of in shock.”

Kimmel is one of the many residents who visited the beautiful river often to view its beauty. Now that the river is completely yellow, it ruined their experience of visiting the once clear river.

Officials from the EPA have spoken about this and the steps that they are taking to clear up this sticky situation by stating how the EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department will test private domestic wells near the Animas to identify metals of concern from the spill. From the quote, steps are being taken so that the metals that do prove to be harmful, are being removed immediately. This was stated in the CNN interview on the CNN website.

The actual water itself, contains  metals  such as cadmium, aluminum, copper, arsenic, iron, and zinc. Although they all are different metals, they cooperated to make the river a bright yellow.

     Ironically, the EPA is an organization that is in charge of making sure that the environment is healthy and clean. They actually deal with important matters such as the decontamination of water very briefly. This is evident when a task worker in 2014, made a claim stating, “Conditions may exist that could result in a blowout of the blockages.” From the interview made by the Business Insider, the report was clearly filed and the EPA took no steps to ensure the safety of the pipes that led to the Animas River.

The main root to this problem actually leads back all the way to 1872 a law in which individuals and corporations would  obtain the rights to areas claimed for mining on public land, where they demanded no royalties on the profits from such mining, and made no provision for cleaning up mine waste. That last part of the law is the main cause for all of this trouble.

    In 1872, Americans did not care as much as we do about the environment and our affect on it. The reason why there is so much coverage on it now is because the condition of the river is life threatening.