Join UWP at the Ouray Community Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30 to learn about activities related to improving water quality in Red Mountain Creek through reclamation work at the former Idarado Mine. Representatives from Newmont Mining and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will present information about reclamation activities over the past five years and plans for addressing acid drainage for the coming years, as well as answer questions from the community.
The Idarado’s remedial actions in the Red Mountain Creek sub-basin are a result of a 1992 Consent Decree (outcome of 1983-1991 CERCLA litigation) in which Idarado and the state entered into a voluntary agreement for remediation of the mining area. The primary objectives were to stabilize mine tailings and improve water quality in Red Mountain Creek by reducing zinc concentrations by 50 percent or to 1.5 ppm. Although tailings have been successfully stabilized and vegetated, the zinc compliance has not been met after 18 years of monthly water quality monitoring. Thus, in 2013, Idarado initiated further studies to identify and evaluate main sources of metals loading. Alternative technologies for further remediation have been tested in recent years.