The Environmental Protection is admitting to a spill from a treatment plant it set up after it dumped 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater into a Colorado river last year.
The EPA said Thursday night that the spill happened on Tuesday, and officials are still attempting to determine how much and what metals were contained in the sludgy discharge, according to the Associated Press.
The spill occurred near the site of last year’s spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colo., where agency contractors didn’t adequately check the mine’s pressure before attempting to open it up after several years of being idle. The result was a massive mine blowout that sent 3 million gallons of metal-tainted water into the waterways of three states.
The Navajo Nation sued the agency over the spill last week after the EPA inspector general and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into the incident a few days before the Aug. 5 anniversary of the 2015 spill. The Navajo argue in their lawsuit that the spill significantly harmed the tribe’s primary source of revenue from crops and other agricultural products.
Local officials said this week’s release was not large enough to warrant a public advisory.
Last year’s spill sent nearly 1 million pounds of metals into the waterways of the Animas and San Juan rivers, which traverse three states. The metals include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel and zinc.