Clear Creek: Spill at Big Five Mine not expected to cause quality problems

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From the Denver Post (Karen E. Crummy): “State health officials said the release of the mine water — containing iron and possibly zinc, copper and manganese — did not pose any health risks to humans, but they were still unsure Thursday about the risks posed to fish and other wildlife…The spokesman for the city of Golden, which is downstream from the contamination, said there won’t be any problems with the city’s water. The release of the contaminated water resulted from a blockage that was inadvertently backing up water within the Big Five Mine, Smith said. When miners hit the area with a shovel about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, water rushed out of the mine at a higher capacity than the treatment facility could handle. The release stopped six hours later.”

I grew up in North Denver. I remember my Grandmother saying, as I set out to play along the bluffs overlooking Clear Creek, “Don’t go in Clear Creek!” It used to often run orange and yellow in those days. What a difference a few years can make. I’ve caught trout near Idaho Springs while Thornton, Golden and Westminster (and perhaps others) take water from the creek for municipal supplies. Of course the work of the EPA on the Clear Creek/Central City superfund site should get a good deal of credit. And don’t forget the Clear Creek Watershed Assembly when you’re handing out kudos.

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