Lead contamination in Colorado water now 3,580 times higher than federal standards, thanks to EPA
by: Ethan A. Huff
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
The “accidental” release by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of more than three million gallons of toxic sludge into a Colorado river system that feeds into the larger Colorado River has resulted in a massive surge of heavy metal contamination, including lead levels that are now 3,580 times higher than federal limits for human drinking water.
The Associated Press (AP) reports that the toxic plume, which is believed to have already reached Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border, left in its wake extremely high concentrations of lead, arsenic, cadmium and various other neurodamaging chemicals. EPA tests for 24 different metals under the 14th Street bridge in Silverton, Colorado, near the site of the Gold King Mine where the accident occurred, revealed the following:
• Levels of lead 200 times higher than the acute exposure maximum for aquatic life, and 3,580 times higher than the acute exposure level for human drinking water.
• Levels of arsenic 24 times higher than the exposure limit for fish, and 823 times higher than the level safe for human ingestion.
• Levels of cadmium 6 times higher than the aquatic limit, and 33 times higher than the safe limit for humans.
Toxic heavy metals flowing through Lake Powell, Grand Canyon and towards Mexico