The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) narrowly avoided fatalities and took over an hour to report their minutes-long spill that dumped three million gallons of toxic waste into the Animas River. The EPA did not have an emergency plan in place in case of a blowout, despite the fact they knew for over a year of the high-risk of a blowout scenario.
“The EPA knew about a blowout risk for over a year and didn’t care to create an emergency plan when they were messing with toxic waste?” questioned Jonathan Lockwood, executive director of Advancing Colorado, a free-market advocacy group. “It is rich that the EPA is so busy killing jobs that they cannot even manage themselves. They even succeed at potentially killing their own jobs.”
According to KMGH-7 News, a detailed timeline from the EPA revealed, at:
10:51 a.m., “a small leak was observed approximately 15 to 20 feet above the anticipated elevation of the floor of the wall.”
10:54 a.m., “the hole begun to enlarge and water was pouring out.”
Four minutes later at 10:58 a.m., “the hole had expanded significantly” and the “access road had begun to wash away” as three million gallons of mine waste poured out.
“An EPA internal review released Wednesday concluded that its crew underestimated the water pressure building up behind the debris at the Gold King Mine, but that it would have been “very difficult and expensive” to figure that out.
The review, led by five EPA personnel, said that the mine crew could have gleaned more data from the blockage at the mine by using “a drill hole inserted further back into the [mine entrance] from above the mine tunnel,” which had been done at the nearby Red and Bonita Mine.”