EPA Agrees to Clean up Its Toxic Waste Blowout

  • Utah AG Sean Reyes reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to resolve allegations of environmental and water contamination by the EPA and its contractors in violation of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) and the Utah Solid and Hazardous Waste Act.
  • According to the amended complaint, the EPA and its contractors triggered an uncontrolled blowout at the Gold King Mine location in Colorado, dumping over three million gallons of acid waste and toxic metals into nearby waterways that stream into Utah, eventually reaching Lake Powell.
  • Under the terms of the settlement, among other things, the EPA will pay for costs of ongoing Superfund response actions in mining sites upstream from Utah at an expected cost of more than $220 million, provide $3 million in water quality grants to Utah’s Division of Water Quality, and initiate and pay for removal site evaluations in several locations throughout the state.