The Wall Street Journal writes in Notable & Quotable:
From a letter to the editor in the Silverton (Colo.) Standard published July 30 regarding an Environmental Protection Agency plan to plug a leaking mine in the area; on Aug. 5 the EPA, trying to stop a leak at the nearby Gold King mine, accidentally released three million gallons of toxic wastewater into Cement Creek, which feeds into the Animas River, turning it bright yellow:
Based on my 47 years of experience as a professional geologist, it appears to me that the EPA is setting your town and the area up for a possible Superfund blitzkrieg. . . .
Here’s the scenario that will occur based on my experience:
Following the plugging, the exfiltrating water will be retained behind the bulkheads, accumulating at a rate of approximately 500 gallons per minute. As the water backs up, it will begin filling all connected mine workings and bedrock voids and fractures. As the water level inside the workings continues to rise, it will accumulate head pressure at a rate of 1 PSI per each 2.31 feet of vertical rise. As the water continues to migrate through and fill interconnected workings, the pressure will increase. Eventually, without a doubt. The water will find a way out and will exfiltrate uncontrollably through connected abandoned shafts, drifts, raises, factures and possibly talus on the hillsides. Initially it will appear that the miracle fix is working.
But make no mistake, with in seven to 120 days all of the 500 gpm flow will return to Cement Creek. Contamination may actually increase due to the disturbance and flushing action within the workings.
The “grand experiment” in my opinion will fail. And guess what [the EPA] will say then?
Gee, “Plan A” didn’t work so I guess we will have to build a treatment plant at a cost to taxpayers of $100 million to $500 million (who knows). . . .
God bless America! God bless Silverton, Colorado. And God protect us from the EPA.
—Dave Taylor, Farmington