Tag Archives: Animas River

The Waters Run Dark for the Olympics

 

The Waters Run Dark for the Olympics

~ Amy Lignor

 

The argument between the EPA and various governing bodies from the state of Colorado to the states of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah – you name it – has been taking over the headlines. This came about because of an EPA project to open up an old gold mine in Colorado, releasing horrific water filled with leads and poisonous chemicals out into the creeks which now has the Animas River, as

An woman dropping her tea-cup in horror upon discovering the monstrous contents of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828.
An woman dropping her tea-cup in horror upon discovering the monstrous contents of a magnified drop of Thames water; revealing the impurity of London drinking water. Coloured etching by W. Heath, 1828.

well as many others in trouble, and the Native American community up in arms. This is one “dirty water” accident that will take who knows how long to clean up…even though the ones in “charge” stated at the beginning that it was basically not a problem and would be a “non-issue” in a jiffy.

 

Well, now, dirty water headlines are reaching even further. Although the debate regarding the water quality in Rio where the Olympics will be held next year, has been stated before, things have escalated. In fact, just this week, the head of swimming’s governing body said dirty water in Rio “is not a big problem.” Athletes even shrugged off the reality of competing in water that could make them extremely ill. Can’t blame the athletes, really. The Olympic dream is huge.

 

You can blame the International Olympic Committee that, at the beginning, was “shrugging off” the reality that the water in Rio is disgusting, and will make people sick. Now, the IOC said on Sunday that it will order testing for viruses that cause diseases in the sewage-polluted waters where athletes will compete. This is a change in their original statement, considering that before all this hubbub was raised, the Committee and the local Olympic organizers in Rio said they would test the waters, but only for bacteria. (Apparently, Brazil’s mandates regarding testing for water safety only require them to do that.)

 

From the Associated Press to the beloved Mike & Mike (sports program) running in the U.S. – where they actually challenged IOC Committee members to swim in the horrific water with their families, and send Mike & Mike pictures, because they wanted to see if they would do it – everyone is up in arms about this mess. High counts of viruses that are linked to human refuse were found in the waters of Rio where Olympic athletes will be competing. Thus, the Committee was basically told by the World Health Organization (WHO) that testing of the waters needed to be expanded to include much more than just bacteria testing. Viral testing is now necessary. It was the International Sailing Federation that first announced they would even do their own independent tests for viruses if the IOC did not comply. (They are still moving ahead with their own tests.)

 

The Associated Press did a five-month test that focused on the waters at each of the venues where athletes will have to have direct contact with substances that may hold very high levels of viruses from the sewage. After they were through with these initial tests, they could not find one – not even one – venue safe for swimming or boating. When you have findings that show any person, athlete or not, that ingests only three teaspoons of this water would have a 99% chance of being infected by a virus, then you know Rio is going to be under massive scrutiny; and should be.

 

It was already known that in Rio, a majority of sewage goes completely untended and ends up flowing down ditches and streams, carrying everything from the waste of households to dead animals into the Olympic waters.

 

This is an issue that could literally, if not corrected, cause many to boycott the games in order to keep their athletes healthy. Visitors will cancel trips, money will be lost… In other words, if Rio wants a success, they will have to put in the time and money necessary to make the waters clean.

 

cc.large Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London

 

Source:  Baret News Wire

Nature Takes a Hit From its Own Protectors

 

Nature Takes a Hit From its Own Protectors

~ Amy Lignor

 

The EPA makes mistakes? Don’t be silly… Oh, wait, what’s that people are seeing out their windows in Colorado and now New Mexico? It looks almost like the sun is setting over the river, sending a burning shade of orange onto the glassy water in the heat of…wait. That is the water?

 

Yup. People are looking out their windows and seeing what was once a river turned into a long swath of orange goo. It looks about as disgusting as any landscape (Chernobyl, anyone?) could get. However, there is an even worse part. The goo that is traveling around houses, through neighborhoods, and affecting farms just happens to contain poisons. Lead. Arsenic. You name it, it’s in there. And the EPA – the lovers and protectors of nature – can be blamed for every single drop.

Dan Bender, with the La Plata County Sheriff's Office, takes a water sample from the Animas River near Durango, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that a cleanup team was working with heavy equipment Wednesday to secure an entrance to the Gold King Mine. Workers instead released an estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste into Cement Creek, which flows into the Animas River. (Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP)
Dan Bender, with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, takes a water sample from the Animas River near Durango, Colo., Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said that a cleanup team was working with heavy equipment Wednesday to secure an entrance to the Gold King Mine. Workers instead released an estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste into Cement Creek, which flows into the Animas River. (Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP)

It all started in Denver, Colorado, when this first sight of disgusting, thick orange muck appeared from a million-gallon mine waste spill, which then headed down the river to quiet New Mexico. People and neighborhoods were told to take precautions BUT that there was no threat to drinking water whatsoever…yet. Downstream, other officials came out and said to completely avoid the Animas River (David Ostrander, Director of the EPA’s emergency response program/Denver.)

 

The EPA clean-up team was on-site at an old gold mine (Gold King Mine in SW Colorado) working to secure an entrance into the old site when their heavy equipment suddenly brought something else to light. A mine bulwark broke as they were working away and sent a huge torrent of waste downstream that raised the water level three feet in Cement Creek. An estimated 1 million gallons of mine waste was delivered into the creek that runs into the Animas River, which then continues to meet up with the San Juan River in New Mexico and the Colorado River in Utah.

 

It was initially said that the goo was acidic and could be a skin irritant, but then the EPA began its testing and found a list of harmful contaminants in the goo; from iron and copper to arsenic and more.

 

New Mexico’s Governor, Susana Martinez, said the EPA waited too long to tell her about the problem. Apparently she was not informed until almost a full 24-hours after the incident occurred. Health officials have warned those avid rafters out there that they need to avoid the water (this was not exactly listened to; Google will show you the rafters paddling around in a very gross orange river.)

 

Durango, Colorado, stopped pumping water out of the Animas River in order to avoid any of the awful waste ending up in the city reservoir, telling everyone, including pet owners and livestock owners to keep their animals out of the Animas until something can be figured out.

 

In Farmington, New Mexico (NW corner of the state), officials of the city stopped all water-supply intake pumps to avoid contamination and told citizens to stay far away from the river until the horrible color had passed. And although the EPA first stated there would be no harm to people seeing as that the waste was filled with only zinc and copper, it has turned out that the orange goo brings far more problems and a great deal more to worry about.

 

Fish have been contained in cages from the Animas River and will be monitored to see what any long-standing issues might be for surrounding wildlife. As far as human beings are concerned, this is a game of wait and see as the thick, disgusting orange river continues to flow.

 

Source:  Baret News