In the wake of the Gold King Mine spill that occurred on August 5, 2015 near Silverton, CO, the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) has responded to calls for mining and exposure expertise.
Tribal community members along the impacted waterways have special concerns about the safety of using the contaminated water for personal use as well as for watering crops and livestock. In response to such questions and concerns, UA SRP investigators and Cooperative Extension partnered to draft a bulletin, “Understanding the Gold King Mine Spill.” A PDF of the bulletin can be found on our Water Booklets and Videos webpage, or accessed directly accessed by clicking here. (11/15: this document has been updated, to better reflect the current state of affairs.)
Additionally, UA SRP investigators have responded to multiple media requests for information. Dr. Jim Field provided expertise for two Arizona Daily Star articles. He commented on the spill’s potential to impact Arizona drinking water, as well as the long-term impacts of metals in sediments in both the recent spill as well as last year’s mine spill in Sonora, Mexico. Dr. Paloma Beamer also commented on the potential for long-term impacts to health and the environment in an Arizona Farm Bureau article, which also includes a link to the UA SRP Water Booklets and Videos webpage as a resource.
Dr. Raina Maier and Dr. Karletta Chief appeared on Arizona Week, a newsmagazine produced by Arizona Public Media. The pair spoke about UA SRP’s work with legacy mining sites and tribal communities, the extent of the contamination and potential for impact to the environment, and the significance of the spill to Navajo livelihoods and cultural beliefs. Chief was also featured on an episode of Native America Calling (starting approx. 44:25), a live call-in program which can be heard on over 70 public, community, and tribal radio stations and the internet. She spoke about the legacy of mining impacts to the Navajo Nation, as well as water quality following the recent spill.