Protecting the Headwaters of the Animas River: Over 200 Comments Submitted

By August 29, 2020 Rivers

The EPA proposed a new mine waste repository near Silverton, as part of their work at the Bonita Peak Superfund Site. We submitted our own SJCA comments on the proposal, and with your help sent in an extra 205 comments to the EPA!

As the EPA continued their cleanup of the Bonita Peak Superfund Site, we wanted to make sure that local communities were both protected & consulted, and that decision were based on the best possible science.

What Happened:

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed plan for a state mine waste repository at the Bonita Peak Mining District (BPMD) Superfund Site by the existing tailings piles of the Mayflower Mill. The Bonita Peak site consists of both past and present releases from several mining drainages that converge into the headwaters of the Animas River near Silverton, and was designated a Superfund site in 2016.

At the national level over the last four years, the EPA has ignored established science in rule-making processes and policy-making decisions. In order to protect the health of the Animas River and our watershed communities, decisions at the Bonita Peak Superfund site needed to be based on the best available science.

As the EPA moves forward with its clean up, science-based decisions are critical in order to improve water quality in the Animas River and to minimize risks to the environment and human health. The EPA must also continually engage local communities and stakeholders in site decisions that could impact the health of the Animas River and our watershed communities.

The location identified for the state mine waste repository is currently being investigated for sources of metals that are impacting the Animas River. We encouraged the EPA to be sure that the new repository does not interfere with ongoing investigations into sources of metals that are currently degrading water quality. Additionally, we asked that the EPA takesĀ  extra care and consideration to ensure the health and safety of Silverton and local residents.

Thanks to everyone who participated! Over 200 comments were sent in to the EPA asking for science-based decisions and consultation with local communities! Sign up for our alerts to stay updated on the status of the Bonita Peak Superfund as it moves forward.

 

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