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One Year After Gold King Mine Spill, River Beds Still Recovering

Gold King Mine
(Photo courtesy of Environmental Protection Agency)
The scene near Gold King Mine.

Friday marked the one-year anniversary of the Gold King Mine spill that dumped 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into the Animus River in Colorado.

The waste, consisting of caustic elements such as lead, barium, chromium and manganese, then fed into the San Juan River, affecting farmlands on the Navajo Nation in Arizona.
While the water has been declared safe enough to again irrigate crops, Scott Smith of the non-profit group Water Defense said the river beds still contain toxicity. Hear his full interview by playing the audio to the left.

 “The real solution is constant monitoring and the Navajo Nation needs to know what’s in their water with appropriate science,” Smith said.

While the EPA has taken blame for the spill and the cleanup efforts, Sen. John McCain has called for a criminal investigation.

Smith said it’s unnecessary to politicize the accident and that the EPA has done all it can to address the cause of the spill and prevent another from occurring in the future.

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Phil Latzman is an award-winning digital journalist and broadcast professional with over 25 years of experience covering news and sports on a multitude of platforms.