Following the release of approximately 3 million gallons of water from the Gold King Mine in Colorado, Weston was tasked under our Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6, 8, and 9 Superfund Technical Assessment & Response Team (START) contracts to provide emergency response services along the Animas River in Colorado and New Mexico, the San Juan River in New Mexico, Lake Powell in Arizona, and on Native American lands. Our team assessed the nature and extent of the impact by collecting samples of sediment, surface water, residential well water, and public drinking water near the spill pathway.
Weston immediately mobilized to coordinate with local drinking water supply facility representatives to collect water samples from the Animas River near public drinking water supply intakes prior to the released water reaching the intakes. Over the course of the response, Weston collected over 1100 sediment samples, over 1600 surface water samples, and over 700 drinking water samples during the 10-week field effort. Weston also provided personnel to assess the local drinking water facilities, and provide documentation of the activities of the EPA Emergency and Rapid Response Service (ERRS) contractor that included livestock/agricultural water and agricultural food deliveries and the installation of water transfer pumps to join two local drinking water systems, in an effort to get the drinking water system back on line as soon as possible
Weston performed validation on data from all samples collected to verify usability of the data. All sample data, including general sampling information and analytical data, were managed by Weston in an electronic database. An interactive cloud-based map viewer showing sample locations and other information was created and maintained by Weston for EPA and was used for internal decision making and public viewing.
In addition to field work, Weston provided operational, financial, documentation, and planning support including direct work with the Incident Commanders, Planning Chiefs, and Resource Leads, coordinated sampling efforts with field personnel, and procurement of a bilingual call center to receive calls from the public concerning the incident.