EPA Publishes Internal Gold King Mine Assessment

The first of three Federal reports on the accidental release of more than 3 million gallons of wastewater from Colorado’s Gold King mine into the Animas River has been released.  On August 26th, EPA published the Summary Report:  EPA Internal Review of the August 5, 2015 Gold King Mine Blowout that provides observations, conclusions, and recommendations for EPA Regions to undertake when working at similar types of sites across the country.  While the Internal Review report holds EPA responsible for not including “blowout” response actions as part of its cleanup strategy, it also suggests that such a blowout was likely inevitable given the conditions at the mine.

Two other reports, one by the Department of Interior (DOI) and one by EPA’s Office of Inspector General (IG), are underway.  The DOI report will include an analysis of the incident and focus on contributing causes.  The Agency’s IG is still formulating the scope of its review but has announced that it will target both the cause and response to the incident.  The EPA Internal Review document and other related information is available for review and/or download at http://www2.epa.gov/goldkingmine/internal-investigation-documents.