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Environmental Recording :04 - 33:13 Play :04 - More
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Running water ambi  

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Interview 33:14 - 53:46 Play 33:14 - More
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Alan Miller  

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Summitville Mine; Water quality  

Interview 59:42 - 1:25:00 Play 59:42 - More
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Hays Griswold  

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Summitville Mine; EPA Superfund site  

Environmental Recording 1:31:09 - 1:35:44 Play 1:31:09 - More
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Interview 1:36:28 - 1:38:50 Play 1:36:28 - More
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Summitville Mine; EPA Superfund site  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
8 Jul 1993

    Geography
  • United States
    Colorado
    Alamosa County
    Locality
  • Alamosa
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 37.46889   -105.87361
    Recording TimeCode
  • :04 - 33:13
    Geography
  • United States
    Colorado
    Conejos County
    Locality
  • near Capulin
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 37.28389   -106.11111
    Recording TimeCode
  • 33:14 - 53:46
    Geography
  • United States
    Colorado
    Rio Grande County
    Locality
  • Summitville Mine
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 37.43611   -106.59778
    Features
  • Waste Site
    Recording TimeCode
  • 59:42 - 1:25:00
    Geography
  • United States
    Colorado
    Rio Grande County
    Locality
  • Summitville Mine; Reynolds Adit
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 37.43611   -106.59778
    Features
  • Waste Site
    Recording TimeCode
  • 1:31:09 - 1:35:44
    Geography
  • United States
    Colorado
    Rio Grande County
    Locality
  • Summitville Mine
    Latitude/Longitude
  • 37.43611   -106.59778
    Features
  • Waste Site
    Recording TimeCode
  • 1:36:28 - 1:38:50
    Channels
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Spaced Omni Stereo recoded with B&K 4006 Omni mics; XY Stereo, Neumann RSM 190; Split track, Neumann KMR 81; Stereo, Neumann KMR 81

¬New Mexico
DAT #2

ALAN MILLER...

ABSOLUTE TIME

00:34:20 **34:56 SUMMITVILLE MINE ....threatening to way of life. land water quality.

36:01 Is this kind of disaster surprising.

yes, very.

water quality never an issue before

How important is Alamosa river.

Reaction after mine was known.

Anger. fear. What are we putting on our soils. I remember thinking we could use jobs from mine. Didn't happen that way. no monies into this community. big disappointment. then when heard not taking care of mine.

***39:15--42:29 What affects...

Acidity first noticed. That and fish kill. Fish all of a sudden died. went to shut ditch off and pool of water was full of fish that were . the next year noticed irrigation materials starting to deteriorate. next year new stuff we put in was rusting too fast. We didnt put two and two together right away. And the following year there weren't any fish.
Copper and zinc are naturally occurring but we dont know what happens when you start over fertilizing.

44:14 How do people feel now. I've never been political. I think we need to start look at changing the rules. Change the 1872 mining law.

Water here comes off Alamosa.

You didnt think these kinds of things would happen here....

****48:44 --49:07 If you've ever been up to Summitville you see how pretty it is up there and you ask how can anybody with a conscience do this to a river to a habitat and to the people that live down here. How can they have the conscience to do this?

AT THE MINE.

***1:31:25-1:33:45-ADIT AMB.

***1:34:55-1:35:53 ...SLOSHING THROUGH.

GRISWOLD AT ADIT ...

We're standing in front of adit.. Water is green why. saturated with copper. Poisonous ...especially to aquatic life... 600 times more copper than they can stand.

Can you treat it...yes. we're treating part of it. cant treat all because of capacity of treatment plant... treating about 30%. other 70% goes to creek.

What would happen if I took a sip? wouldn't like it.

HAYS GRISWOLD ...

On seen coordinator.

Where are we standing...old gold recovery plant. used to recover gold from heap leach. we've converted to destruction of cyanide and metals reduction.

1:01:16 What went wrong.

Water balance, design of heap leach bed, nature of the rock. i.e. The rock up here contains sulphur, comes into contact with water and 02 it generates acid and leaches metals...mainly copper gets into water and runs off the site.

Copper is very toxic to aquatic life. comes off in hundreds of parts per million.

1:03:14 Worst possible scenario.. Yes, for a mine ...about the worst you could think off.

Getting worse every day .. most of the rock around the site has only been here six years and it generates more and more acid as it is exposed.

Didn't people know this would happen some did and wouldnt mine here. What Galactic was thinking I coulndt tell you. Not sure what they had in mind.

1:04:35 Lessons learned. factor in nature of rock and water balance.

1:05:00 You react personally, too busy. destructive process.

1:05:42 is mining always in competition with environment. profit incentive. getting to be slim pickings. this was one of the few left to mine in.

what has this done for mining here. lots of scrutiny. lessons learned here applied to other operations.

1:07 can you treat all the water. not all, quite a ways to go. we may be halfway to a solution just because of rock distributed through site.

1:08:00 Can this ever be safe for environment. not completely. maybe a large portion. lots of taxpayers money.

How long will you be here. Not sure. another few months. EPA here for years 10-15 not out of the question

How hard is what you're trying to do. Not that difficult. Matter of money. Done on other waste piles. smaller scale.

1:10:29 Downstream people said water quality was better. but running at 100%. Yeah, and we're not getting 100% of what there is to get.

1:11:27 What would happen if you were not here... catastrophic release to rg and destruction of aquatic life. could have been 15,000 pounds of copper per day released to drainage system.

How many pounds per day are you preventing of copper from going downstream. 3-4 thousand pounds.

How do we measure magnitude here. well over million gals. per day of water treated. In this treatment plant just over a million and another treating adit. five times bigger than next biggest job.

30-40 thousand dollars per day.

other Summitvilles? Possibly. Problems not a bad in dryer climates.

Couldn't Summitville open as gold mine? doubt it, most of the gold gone anyway.

New mining law in Colo. Need to see it in practice.

Was it too lax in the past? don't know

Any of the principals been back? No.

Remorseful haven't talked to them.

Employees. Talked to them about what went on. They were here to mine gold and make profit. We were grateful when the stuck around when the company abandoned them. stay here for 10-11 days after Summitville declared bankruptcy and before we got here in the middle of the winter.

1:18:25 Used to work in mines, now a protector. What about the decision that must be made. Scrutinizing their own operations more carefully.

Do they pay attention to tailings. Don't know . IN cal. we had to be awfully careful.

Are mine, co good citizens Trying to be. and been put on alert. This one was a smaller one and didn¿t have financial ability to follow things through.

Night of bankruptcy Not panicked. stunned and shocked. stay at their stations. they hadn't been forewarned.

Largest and most expensive project EPA has come in on . The only one where they just came in and picked up operations.

Proposed npl site. Superfund money being used. Not officially on npl list just yet.

Water threatened in Colo. extra emergency value. arid climate. water very valuable.

1:25:38 AMBI xy stereo

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