One million gallons (1 US gal = 3.785 liters) of toxic waste water carrying heavy metals were dumped into the Colorado River system.
The originator of this pollution act was the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Entering the Colorado River system On the 5th of this month, an investigation team of the United States Environmental Protection Agency went to work in an abandoned mine in Colorado. Their original purpose was to recycle and dispose of waste water from mines and reduce the flow of pollutants into rivers. The wastewater collected from the mine was stored in a pond near the survey site.
But this day, an accident happened.
The heavy metal-containing waste water overflowed the storage pond, poured into the nearby Animas River, and is continuing to run towards a large lake in a national park.
The wastewater had passed through Colorado to New Mexico on Friday, and continues to the west. Near the route is Utah's famous red rock formations. The Grand Ladder-Escalante National Reserve is also in that area.
"It's terrible," said Stephen Lowrance, acting county sheriff of San Juan County, New Mexico. "The sewage makes the river orange, and you never want to drink this kind of river water."
After being notified of the accident, Lawrence and officials in another county quickly rushed to the site of the sewage leak.
Sewage is still being removed to a large Indian reserve. After the sewage is discharged into the San Juan River, it may affect drinking and agricultural water in the protected area.
The San Juan River is a tributary of the Colorado River.
The Colorado River, which runs more than 2,000 kilometers southwest of the United States, supplies water to seven states in the United States.
Russell Begaye, chairman of the Navajo Conservation Area threatened by heavy metals, said it was another accident caused by lax government management. "We have to stay away from the river again."
Begai also asked the US Environmental Protection Agency to immediately disclose all specific details about the sewage accident.
The San Juan River eventually merges into Lake Powell, which is part of the famous Grand Canyon.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has not yet announced what impact the sewage may have on Lake Powell.
What disturbs residents around the lake most is that the gold mine continued to leak until Friday afternoon.
Although the leaked sewage has not yet entered the river, a long water trail has been dragged around.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set up a sedimentation tank in an attempt to allow heavy metals to separate out as sewage flows.
The investigation team has conducted an initial investigation of the sewage and sediments dumped into the Animas. Investigations show that the sewage contains lead, arsenic, cadmium, copper, calcium and other heavy metals, all of which are harmful to health. The damage was enough for local officials to warn residents to stay away from rivers.
Officials from the United States Environmental Protection Agency responded to reporters at a subsequent press conference saying that the harm to the human body and the environment caused by the accident cannot be calculated for the time being, because toxicologists are still analyzing based on water samples.
There are long-term risks "This is a huge tragedy, especially this time the Environmental Protection Agency is on the opposite side of its previous role," said David Ostrander, the head of the US Environmental Protection Agency's emergency management department. We are all correctors, and this time we are the perpetrators. "
The leaked sewage is a leftover product of a gold mine with a history of more than 100 years. Although the gold mine has an owner, it has actually been abandoned.
Sewage continues to flow downstream, and it will pass through many urban centers along the way. Many cities and towns also have various water entertainment tourism projects along the river banks.
Since last Friday, residents of sewage flowing through towns have been warned to stay away from the water. Farmers have also been banned from using river water for irrigation, and some towns have also started back-up water and called on residents to start storing potable water.
The Federal Bureau of Reclamation, which specializes in water supplies in the western United States, has also warned people not to have any contact with the water.
The Bureau of Reclamation also released a dam near the site of the accident in an attempt to dilute the sewage.
Environmental Protection Agency officials acknowledged that the possible impact of the spill could be years in the future.
"We need to measure long-term effects, such as the spring runoff that will bring some sediment back, which are potential factors that will cause harm in the future," said US Environmental Protection Agency District Chief Shaun McGrath.
After the accident, the emergency response of the Environmental Protection Agency was also criticized.
Some U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said that because they did not realize the seriousness of the incident, they were delayed until the second day after the accident, and local residents were informed that the river that had been stained with fluorescent yellow had already reached the center of the town.
The delay of the whole day of information may cause some farmers still in the dark to use polluted river water to water crops.
The above information was compiled and edited by the Network Department of Henan Zhonglan Water Treatment Engineering Co., Ltd.