Gold King Mine Spill Expected to Take a “Massive Toll”

Civil litigation attorneys note that news outlets reporting on the Gold King Mine disaster expect the August 5, 2015 spill of toxic chemicals into the Animas River north of Durango, Colorado, to take a “massive toll” on residents, commerce and wildlife along approximately 300 miles of impacted watershed. The Animas River spill is expected to affect the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Utah as contaminated water enters the San Juan River, of which the Animas is a tributary.

If you have been impacted by the Gold King Mine spill, attorneys affiliated with Attorney Group can help. Contact us to learn more about your options. We provide free, no-obligation consultations. We can help answer your questions, and if you choose to pursue a claim we can connect you with an affiliated Colorado mine spill attorney who can assist you throughout the legal process.

Important: The time you have to pursue a claim is limited. Contact us for more information.

Animas River Spill: 3 Million Gallons of Toxins

The Gold King Mine disaster resulted from approximately 3 million gallons of toxic chemicals, including arsenic, lead, copper, aluminum and cadmium, being released into the Animas River by contractors for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who had been tasked with investigating leakage of wastewater from the mine. According to Wikipedia:

On August 5, 2015, workers for Environmental Restoration LLC (a Fenton, Missouri company under EPA contract to mitigate pollutants from the closed mine) caused the spill when trying to add a tap to the tailing pond for the mine.

Workers accidentally destroyed the dam holding back the pond, spilling 3,000,000 US gallons (11 ML) of polluted mine waste water and tailings, including heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, and other elements, such as arsenic, into Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River in Colorado.

Wikipedia also notes that the “EPA was criticized for not warning Colorado and New Mexico until the day after the waste water spilled.”

Toxic Plume Extends to Utah—Over 60,000 Residents Affected

USA Today reports that the toxic mix of chemicals that leaked into the Animas River following the Colorado mine spill extended from the site of the spill in southwest Colorado into New Mexico, where the Animas flows into the San Juan River, and then into Utah, where the San Juan eventually flows into the Colorado River. The report added:

The Gold King Mine’s discharge raises the possibility of long-term damage from the toxic metals falling out of suspension as the plume slowly moves along the river.

Gold King Mine Spill
Shannon1/Wikimedia Commons

According to CNN, over 60,000 residents of the three states will be impacted by the spill. Durango, Colorado, just south of the spill site, has a population of 17,000, and Farmington, New Mexico, located where the Animas flows into the San Juan, has 45,000 residents.

Additionally, approximately 750 farmers use the Animas River for irrigation, and a Navajo community near Shiprock, New Mexico, has reportedly been hard hit by the spill.

The Animas River hosts a wide variety of wildlife and is a major white water rafting river, which according to Wikipedia, accounts “for 8.9% of Colorado’s commercial rafting market while annually generating 45,411 commercial user days and direct expenditures of $5,207,033 (2011 est).”

Affected Residents May Be Entitled to Compensation

When a government or private actor causes an environmental disaster, affected residents may be entitled to compensation. Depreciation of land values, loss of business income, or perhaps even health issued related to the disaster can make impacted residents eligible to recover damages for their losses. Often, even when the responsible party accepts liability for causing an accident, the person injured can benefit from legal counsel to assist them through the process.

Contact Us For More Information

If you or a loved one was impacted by the Gold King Mine spill, contact Attorney Group for more information. You can fill out the form on this page, call us at the number listed at the top of the page, or email us at

When you contact us, an attorney will follow up with you to speak with you about your case or answer questions that you might have. There is no cost or obligation to speak with us, and any information you provide will be kept confidential.

Please note that the law limits the time you have to pursue a claim for an injury. If you think you have a case, you should not delay taking action.

See our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information, and contact Attorney Group today.