Posted on May 21, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Agencies ready to tackle acid mine drainage at abandoned Pennsylvania Mine
USGS and EPA scientists take earth and water samples below the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine in Summit County, Colorado. Bob Berwyn photo.
Tainted water at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine.
By Bob Berwyn
*Extensive Summit Voice coverage of the Pennsylvania Mine is online here.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Nearly a century after miners finished digging millions of dollars worth of silver, lead and zinc out of the Pennsylvania Mine, heavy machinery will once again rumble through the high alpine Peru Creek Valley.
But instead of burrowing deep into the ground to find precious metals, the workers this time will be trying to clean up the big mess left behind when the mine was abandoned. For decades, water coursing through the mine shafts has been dissolving minerals, resulting in acid mine drainage that pollutes Peru Creek and the Snake River. Concentrations of some metals, especially zinc, are high enough to kill trout.
After years of studying the mine, experts with federal and state agencies now say they are ready to try and tackle the pollution. They will provide details on the cleanup plan at the May 29 meeting of the Snake River Watershed Task Force. The public meeting is scheduled from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Keystone Center, 1628 St. John Road, Keystone. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, rivers, Summit County Colorado, water | Tagged: abandoned mines, acid mine drainage, Colorado, Environment, EPA, Pennsylvania Mine, water pollution | Leave a Comment »
Posted on January 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Pollution from an abandoned mine turned the Blue River bright orange in April 2006. Bob Berwyn photo.
Public event planned Jan. 18 near Breckenridge
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Around the West, there are thousands of abandoned mines polluting streams and killing fish, and many volunteer cleanup efforts have been stymied by strict Clean Water Act liability provisions.
Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) for years has been working with the EPA to try and make it easier for Good Samaritan groups to tackle remediation projects without taking on responsibility for future pollution. Those efforts showed results in December, when the EPA issued new guidance specifying that Good Samaritans are generally not responsible for obtaining a Clean Water Act permit during or after a successful cleanup conducted according to a Good Samaritan agreement with EPA. Read the memo here.
Udall will be in Summit County Friday (Jan. 18) along with EPA Regional Administrator Jim Martin to discuss the new policy and the public is invited to attend the event, set for 11 a.m. at the Iron Springs Mill off Boreas Pass Road. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: abandoned mines, acid mine drainage, Colorado, Environment, EPA, good samaritan cleanups, Mark Udall, water pollution, water quality | Leave a Comment »
Posted on February 20, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The abandoned Pennsylvannia Mine in Summit County, Colorado, is a significant source of pollution. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
Colorado lawmaker tries to rally support on Senate floor; asks EPA for relief
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Sen. Mark Udall last week renewed his efforts to find ways to enable Good Samaritans to clean up some of the many abandoned mine sites scattered around Colorado and the West.
In addition to trying to rally political support with a speech on the Senate floor, Udall sent a letter to the EPA asking for a change in policy that would give Good Samaritans some legal certainty when it comes to the liability for cleanup efforts. Senators Michael Bennet of Colorado and Barbara Boxer of California also signed the letter.
Certain legal hooks in the Clean Water Act make it challenging for volunteers, so Udall is looking for ways that would enable Good Samaritans to clean up those contaminated sites without assuming full legal liability for contamination they did not create. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, rivers, Summit County news, water | Tagged: abandoned mines, acid mine drainage, Clean Water Act, Colorado, Good Samaritan mine cleanups, Mark Udall | 2 Comments »
Posted on August 11, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Drilling, along with laser and sonar probes, planned at Pennsylvania Mine this summer
Toxic metals oozing from the abandoned Pennsylvania mine pollute the waters of Peru Creek and the Snake River far downstream. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Research at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine, high in the Peru Creek drainage, will go deeper than ever before this year, as state experts prepare to drill underground to try and get a better handle on how water moves through the tunnels of the mine and the fissures of the surrounding mountain.
The work at the mine is expected to cost between $450,000 and $800,000, according to a recent update from the Snake River Watershed Task Force. Specific projects include laser and sonar surveys in the mine workings, as well as visual inspections with a borehole camera. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, public lands, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, water | Tagged: abandoned mines, Environment, Pennsylvania Mine, Peru Creek, Snake River Colorado, Summit County News, water quality | 1 Comment »