Standard Mine Spill in Crested Butte
Town of Crested Butte Press Release - 10/8/2015
The Town of Crested Butte has been notified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of a spill estimated at 2,000 gallons or less of water and gray-colored sediment from a holding pond at the Standard Mine.
According to the EPA, a contractor had been dewatering the pond containing unmineralized sediment from drilling operations and water from the lower mine adit. The contents had been treated to a neutral PH of 7. The treated water from the sediment pond was being discharged into Elk Creek as part of a planned maintenance activity. A vacuum truck siphoning clear water from the surface of the pond accidentally dipped into gray-colored sediment leading to the accidental discharge of sediment and gray-colored water into Elk Creek. The discharged material contained a mixture of PH-neutral rock slurry and water from the mine.
Based upon the size and content of the spilled material as understood from the EPA, the flow levels downstream, and the 10 million gallon storage reservoir at the Town's treatment plant, the Town Department of Public Works has determined that any impact to the Town's drinking water would be negligible. The Town has also hired an independent contractor to perform additional testing to ensure that there is no negative impact to the Town watershed or drinking water. Work on the holding pond is now complete.
The Town is communicating and working closely with the EPA on this issue. The EPA has additionally contacted the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Gunnison County and the Coal Creek Watershed Alliance. The Town is also in contact with these agencies.
For further information, contact the Town of Crested Butte Public Works Director at 970-349-5338 or visit the Town of Crested Butte website via the link provided below.