Gold King Mine

A mining company says it won't carry out cleanup work ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as part of a Superfund project in southwest Colorado.

The Durango Herald reported Wednesday that Sunnyside Gold Corp. sent the EPA a letter saying the company isn't responsible for pollution flowing from inactive mines in the area.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A gold company said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is mismanaging the Superfund cleanup of nearly 50 old mining sites in southwestern Colorado and should be removed as the agency in charge.

Sunnyside Gold Corp., which owns mining property in the Bonita Peak Superfund district, made the complaint Monday in a letter to the EPA. In a written statement Tuesday, the EPA said it is following Superfund laws and is conducting a thorough investigation and cleanup.

EPA

Every day, many millions of gallons of water loaded with arsenic, lead and other toxic metals flow from some of the most contaminated mining sites in the U.S. and into surrounding streams and ponds without being treated, The Associated Press has found.

That torrent is poisoning aquatic life and tainting drinking water sources in Montana, California, Colorado, Oklahoma and at least five other states.

Luke Runyon / KUNC

In early August three years ago, Barb Horn stood along the banks of the Animas River in the city of Durango, Colorado. Word had spread of a mine waste spill upstream near Silverton. She waited, alongside hundreds of others, for the waste to appear. But the plume took longer than expected and eventually arrived at night.

The next morning, she saw the change.

“It was absolutely surreal,” Horn says. “And I think that's why it went viral. It’s like somebody photoshopped the river orange.”

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A truck hauling waste from a Colorado mine - the source of a 2015 spill that polluted rivers in three states- crashed into a creek on Monday, spilling at least some of its load into the water, authorities said.

The driver was not seriously injured, but about 9 cubic yards of sludge spilled into the water, officials said.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has come up with an interim plan to hold back some of the toxic heavy metals that spill into rivers from old southwestern Colorado mining sites.