An accident on August 5, 2015 caused three million gallons of wastewater (including heavy-metal contaminants) to spill into the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado. The Animas River flows into the San Juan River in New Mexico. The San Juan River then flows into the Colorado River in Utah. The pollutants came from an abandoned gold mine that was being cleaned up by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many people are blaming the spill on the EPA because they feel that the agency was not careful enough during the clean-up. Other people are blaming the mining industry and public policy which allows mining companies to leave messes that they don’t have to clean up.
As humans, we all rely on clean water to drink and to grow our food. How do you think we can best prevent pollutants from entering our watershed?