WHOOPS: More than 11 million litres of toxic wastewater has been released into Colorado’s Animas and San Juan rivers.
WHOOPS: More than 11 million litres of toxic wastewater has been released into Colorado’s Animas and San Juan rivers. JAY Canodenew Zulaaap

EPA likely to pay big price for toxic spill

THE US Environmental Protection Agency is likely to be sued over the inadvertent release of millions of litres of toxic wastewater by a team of its workers during an inspection of an abandoned gold mine.

Colorado and New Mexico officials declared a state of emergency after the spill into the San Juan River and its northern tributary, the Animas River.

An orange mix containing heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead has spread down the waterways into south-eastern Utah and towards Lake Powell.

Authorities have closed the two rivers to drinking and irrigation.

The San Juan River, which converges with the Colorado River at Lake Powell, is a primary source of water for crops, livestock and communities living along the river.


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