Friday, October 23, 2015

Federal probe - EPA mine spill was preventable

Federal experts are blaming the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a major mine wastewater spill in Colorado. Investigators with the Interior Department, who were charged with independently probing the August spill, reported Thursday that the EPA rushed through the engineering work leading up to the incident and did not understand the complexity of the abandoned Gold King Mine. The Thursday report contrasts with one completed in August by the EPA, finding that the blowout of 3 million gallons of dangerous sludge was “likely inevitable.”Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation found that the EPA, Colorado officials and a contractor decided against drilling a borehole horizontally into the mine, above the pooled wastewater, to determine its volume and pressure. “This error resulted in development of a plan to open the mine in a manner that appeared to guard against blowout, but instead led directly to the failure,” the report said. Richard Olson, an engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers who reviewed the report before it was released, told investigators that he wanted to investigate more about how communications at the EPA broke down about the mine cleanup, and how that contributed to the incident. But Interior argued that its report should only cover the technical aspects of the spill, so it did not probe communications...more

No comments: