Electrical power has been restored to the Interim Water Treatment Plant at the Bonita Peak Superfund site in Gladstone after the facility lost power Thursday evening because of snowfall.
Richard Mylott, a public affairs specialist with Region 8 of the Environmental Protection Office, said in a news release crews were able to reach the plant Saturday morning to restore power and normal operations to the wastewater-treatment plant.
The amount of additional metals entering the Animas River when the plant was down was similar to the metal load from mine wastewater before treatment of the Gold King Mine discharge started in 2015 with construction of the water-treatement plant.
The EPA expects no impacts to downstream drinking water or agricultural users associated with the short-term shutdown of the plant. The agency expects impacts will be localized and largely limited to aquatic life in the Animas River Canyon south of Silverton.
Water samples were taken along the Animas River, near Silverton, and results are expected early next week.
When the water-treatment plant is operational, it typically removes about 500 to 600 pounds of metals a day during March. Data for metals loading in winter months are unavailable.
The EPA estimates the Gold King discharge, before treatment, represented 15 percent to 25 percent of the total metals load leaving the mining district during low-flow conditions. The majority of these metals are iron and aluminum.
While the Gold King Mine is a significant source of metals contamination and an EPA priority site, it is only one of dozens of mines in the Bonita Peak Superfund district.