Mallards Swimming in the Animas River Four Days after a Toxic Spill

River Closed Sign, Animas River, Durango, Colorado, USA, North America
River Closed Sign, Animas River, Durango, Colorado, USA, North America

For those of you who don’t know – on Wednesday 05 August, there was a horrible toxic spill of wastewater from an abandoned mine above Silverton. The EPA was doing an environmental assessment and accidentally caused a breach of a containment dam. An estimated three million gallons of orange sludge flowed into Cement Creek, which then flowed into the Animas River. The sludge is reported to contain high levels of heavy metals including copper, zinc, cadmium and arsenic.

This is a major catastrophe which could affect the health of the river for years.

On Sunday morning I did a short walk above and below Rotary Park. I went looking for any signs of water fowl in the Animas River. The only evidence I saw were two Mallards just downstream from the Main Avenue bridge. There is a small fresh water seep coming into the river below the Animas Crossing condos.

A pair of Mallard Duck swiming in the polluted Animas River, August 09, 2015

A pair of Mallard Duck swiming in the polluted Animas River, August 09, 2015

The Mallards hung out mostly near the riverbank but one actually swan across to the East side of the river and was rooting around under water for some food.

Mallard Duck swimming in the Animas River, Sunday August 09, 2015
Mallard Duck swimming in the Animas River, Sunday August 09, 201

The water in the last photo actually looks bluer than it actually was. The first day, Thursday, that the spill arrived in Durango, the color of the water was much more of a mustard color.  Check out the Durango Herald for coverage, videos and photos.

Mallard Duck looking for food on the bottom of the Animas River, Sunday August 09, 2015
Mallard Duck looking for food on the bottom of the Animas River, Sunday August 09, 2015

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