Lonely Planet Writer

US environmental agency causes toxic disaster in Colorado

The Environmental Protection Agency, an arm of the US government typically responsible for cleaning up toxic spills, has claimed responsibility for an accident that released 3 million gallons of contaminated water into the Animas River in Southern Colorado.

Animas river, Durango, Colorado.
Animas river, Durango, Colorado. CC BY 2.0

The EPA was investigating an abandoned mine in the area, hoping to repair a leak that had been seeping toxic water into the watershed for years. When crews began to dig in order to make repairs, a surprise flood of orange liquid came rushing through, spilling into a creek that led to the Animas. Residents of the area watched in horror while the once-clean river, once popular with anglers and rafters, became clouded with an eerie orange sludge. Officials have closed the river while they test the effects the spill will have on the surrounding area. Read more: nytimes.com