Contaminated wastewater headed for Arizona

PAGE, Ariz. (ARIZONA DAILY SUN and AP) -- Contaminated wastewater released Thursday from a mine on the Animas River in Colorado is expected to arrive at Lake Powell via the San Juan River sometime early this week, the National Park Service announced in a Friday alert.

That's according to a report in the Arizona Daily Sun

While contaminant levels and impacts anticipated at Lake Powell are not yet understood, as a precautionary measure, the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is encouraging visitors to avoid drinking, swimming or recreating on the San Juan River within the recreation area and on the San Juan River arm of Lake Powell until further notice, Glen Canyon said in a news release.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday an estimated million gallons of mine waste was accidentally released by a federal mine cleanup crew from the Gold King Mine, which was closed in 1923. The waste entered a creek that runs into the Animas River in southwestern Colorado. The Animas flows into the San Juan River in northwestern New Mexico and then joins the Colorado River in southeastern Utah.

Most river sediments will settle out of the water when the river current slows at Lake Powell, as is illustrated by the sediment deltas at the mouths of all rivers entering the lake. Even if all of the contaminants do not settle out of the water at the San Juan River sediment delta, because of the extremely slow rate of movement down the 40-mile San Juan River arm of Lake Powell, at this time the park service alert is not being issued for the entire lake.