Dec 01, 2021

Colorado Issues Cease & Desist for Nederland-area Mine Leaking Heavy Metals into Water

The order was given to the current owners Grand Island Resources on Nov. 5.

colorado drinking water

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Water Quality Control Division issued a cease and desist order to the owner of the Cross and Caribou mines near Nederland, Colorado.

The order alleges that pollutants are being leaked into surrounding watersheds and making their way into the drinking water of some residents, reported Out There Colorado News. Grand Island Resources will have a hearing with the state's Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety in December.

The order was given to the current owners Grand Island Resources on Nov. 5. It requests the construction of a new containment and cleanup system. If these goals are not met fines up to $54,833 will be implemented if the violations continue. 

​​The state’s cease and desist order said the mine owners failed to make the required pollutant reports in March and April of this year, reported The Colorado Sun. There are also many more alleged violations between December 2020 through August 2021. 

Grand Island Resources is allowed to release treated wastewater into a nearby creek if it meets safety requirements, according to Colorado Newsline. The main commodities extracted from the Caribou mine include silver, lead, and gold, with zinc, copper, and more, according to the USGS.

The water in the creek makes its way to some residents in Boulder, but a recent water report from the city has not reported any issues with drinking water. Although contaminants were detected, they are not at levels to result in a violation, reported Out There Colorado News.

A $150,000 water treatment system was recently installed to help mitigate issues at the mines, reported the Colorado Sun. 

The heavy metals are not a current threat to Middle Boulder Creek, Barker Reservoir or the parts of Boulder County downstream, according to state officials.

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