Are you drinking contaminated water? Millions of Americans poisoned every day by water from abandoned mines
05/31/2019 // Tracey Watson // Views

Water – and more specifically, clean water – is life. Without it we could not survive, let alone thrive. But drinking more water to improve one’s health is counterproductive when that water is contaminated with dangerous heavy metals like arsenic and lead.

A recent Associated Press (AP) investigation has revealed that old, abandoned mining sites release 50 million gallons of water polluted with these toxins into the American water supply every single day.

In addition to poisoning aquatic life, this pollution endangers humans and animals and costs American citizens billions in cleanup costs. (Related: Alarming report reveals 27 million Americans are drinking dirty tap water that violates government safety standards.)

Multiple states affected

For more than 100 years, American mines were virtually unregulated and mining companies were allowed to simply desert gold, silver and lead mines and move on when these were no longer profitable. According to the AP report, abandoned mines are contaminating drinking water in Montana, Oklahoma, Colorado, California and at least five other states.

The AP reported:

Using data from public records requests and independent researchers, the AP examined 43 mining sites under federal oversight, some containing dozens or even hundreds of individual mines.

The records show that at average flows, more than 50 million gallons (189 million liters) of contaminated wastewater streams daily from the sites. In many cases, it runs untreated into nearby groundwater, rivers and ponds — a roughly 20-million-gallon (76-million-liter) daily dose of pollution that could fill more than 2,000 tanker trucks.


The remainder of the waste is captured or treated in a costly effort that will need to carry on indefinitely, for perhaps thousands of years, often with little hope for reimbursement.

Even worse than the Gold King Mine disaster

In 2015, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) workers and personnel from the Environmental Restoration LLC triggered a massive environmental disaster when they accidentally caused the release of toxic wastewater into the Animas River watershed while doing repairs at the Gold King Mine in Silverton, Colorado.

911 Metallurgist explains that when these workers accidentally destroyed the dam that was holding back a pond, 3 million U.S. gallons of wastewater and tailing (massive piles of mine waste) containing dangerous heavy metals like cadmium, lead and arsenic were dumped into Cement Creek, which is a tributary of the Animas River. Ultimately, the mine sludge released in the incident caused serious pollution to rivers in three different states. (Related: EPA’s Gold King Mine investigation remains SECRET two years after agency blamed for environmental disaster.)

As bad as that disaster was, however, the AP report reveals that the toxic waste quietly being leaked from derelict mines around the country every single day, far exceeds the Gold King Mine incident in scope.

The AP reported further:

At many mines, the pollution has continued decades after their enlistment in the federal Superfund cleanup program for the nation’s most hazardous sites, which faces sharp cuts under President Donald Trump.

Federal officials have raised fears that at least six of the sites examined by AP could have blowouts like the one at Gold King.

Some sites feature massive piles or impoundments of mine waste known as tailings. A tailings dam collapse in Brazil last month killed at least 169 people and left 140 missing. A similar 2014 accident in British Columbia swept millions of cubic yards of contaminated mud into a nearby lake, resulting in one of Canada’s worst environmental disasters.

Knowing that your beautiful glass of crystal-clear water may not be as pure as it looks reinforces the need to invest in a high quality water filter like the Big Berkey. Filters like these remove heavy metals and other impurities, enabling you to fully enjoy the life-sustaining benefits of your drinking water. Learn more at

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