Contaminated river leaves businesses at a standstill

Kai Ryssdal and Mukta Mohan Aug 11, 2015
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Contaminated river leaves businesses at a standstill

Kai Ryssdal and Mukta Mohan Aug 11, 2015
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The Animas River along Durango and Las Platas, Colorado, was recently contaminated by 3 million gallons of toxic waste from a nearby mine. It turned the river bright yellow and left a lot of small business owners scrambling.

Matt Wilson, co-owner of 4 Corners Whitewater Rafting in Durango, describes the river: “It’s returned to the nice aqua-green color that it usually is, but the problem is the entire river bed is covered in this bright orange sludge, so that is the main concern.”

In the five days since the spill, 4 Corners Whitewater Rafting  has lost $30,000 and counting. His company is one of the smaller rafting companies along the Animas River, but they have seven full-time employees who are all waiting for an update from the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Business has come to a total standstill. They have closed the river since last Thursday, so we’re just playing the waiting game right now,” Wilson says.  

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the name of the EPA administrator. She is Gina McCarthy. 

 

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