EPA announces Gold King Mine water treatment system for winter | SummitDaily.com

EPA announces Gold King Mine water treatment system for winter

Local Vail Resorts employees and their families gathered in Keystone on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 for the company's annual EpicPromise volunteer day.
Courtesy Vail Resorts |

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday, Sept. 24, that a portable, temporary treatment system will be located in Gladstone, Colorado, to continue treating water discharged from the Gold King Mine this winter.

This system will replace temporary settling ponds constructed by the EPA in August.

The transition to the portable treatment system is necessary as winter temperatures at the mine site (elevation 10,500 feet) can reach -20 degrees, making it unsafe to manually treat water at the mine site.

This system will be operational by Oct. 14 and will treat the roughly 550 gallons per minute (gpm) of water that continue to flow from the mine, including the discharges related to ongoing work in the mine to stabilize conditions. The system is designed to handle up to 1,200 gpm and to neutralize the mine discharge and remove solids and metals.

Although the Gold King Mine discharge is just one of many into Cement Creek, the treatment will remove a portion of the metal loading to Cement Creek.

The EPA continues to evaluate data to determine the impact of the Gold King Mine on water quality. For more information about EPA’s Gold King Mine response, visit http://www.epa.gov/goldkingmine.

Parks and Wildlife tracks nature with smartphones

Colorado Parks and Wildlife visitors, volunteers and staff began entering observations of plants and animals this summer into the State Parks NatureFinder project, hosted by the free smartphone application iNaturalist.

“Several hundred observations have been added since the project launched,” said Matt Schulz, CPW forest management coordinator. “We are excited about connecting people who are passionate about our parks with the wildlife and plants that make each park unique and special.”

Previously CPW’s Resource Stewardship program experimented with a variety of ways to track wildlife sightings — from handwritten reports and Microsoft Office documents to visitor center whiteboards and online databases. The agency welcomes the change to this simple, user-friendly technology.

Users can post photos and sounds or view the observations of other park visitors. iNaturalist uses a crowd-sourced identification system to help observers identify the exact species they have seen.

The application is managed by a nonprofit and allows CPW to house its own project, called State Parks NatureFinder, within the site. That project allows CPW to track species presence, numbers and activity and see which species use different habitats within each park.

Vail Resorts volunteers in Keystone

On Saturday, Sept. 19, about 275 Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort employees gathered to improve 1.5 miles of the Keystone Gulch Trail System, construct a low ropes course and complete other campus improvement projects at the Keystone Science School.

The volunteers represented a portion of the 2,000 Vail Resorts employees that gave back in locations across the country as part of Vail Resorts’ annual EpicPromise Day.

Originally established in 2010, EpicPromise Day brings together employees, their friends and their families, to support a local community need. Since its founding, the annual EpicPromise Day has allowed more than 6,700 volunteers to give nearly 26,000 hours of time to local projects.

“The mission of our business is to provide experiences of a lifetime in the great outdoors,” said John Buhler, Breckenridge Ski Resort COO and vice president. “Each year, EpicPromise Day is an opportunity for our employees to directly support the communities where they live and where we operate. We are grateful for their commitment to this program and appreciate the opportunity to partner with local organizations and positively impact local communities in various ways.”

Through EpicPromise, Vail Resorts contributes $7.8 million in charitable donations to 250 nonprofit partners, organizes 20,000 hours of company-sponsored employee volunteer time and executes on a variety of environmental initiatives each year. In Summit County, EpicPromise supports more than 60 nonprofits annually.

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