Documents Related to the Gold King Mine Release

EPA takes its commitment to transparency seriously. Since the Gold King Mine incident, EPA has received a large volume of requests for documents related to the response. This webpage holds a chronological collection of relevant documents released by EPA, many of which are responsive to the requests from stakeholders, local communities, the media, the general public and members of Congress.


Timeline of Released Documents

Jan. 13, 2017 Update

EPA released an internal report on its emergency response capacity. Following the Gold King Mine incident, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy requested senior leadership conduct a thorough assessment of its response, and make recommendations to improve the agency’s readiness to address future emergency incidents. Released today, “In the Rearview Mirror: Implementation of the Gold King Mine After-Action Review,” includes staffs’ recommendations and actions taken to address them. Read the report.

Jan. 6, 2017 Update

EPA’s Office of Research and Development has finalized the report “Analysis of the Transport and Fate of Metal Released from the Gold King Mine in the Animas and San Juan Rivers.” Read the report and supporting materials.

Oct. 11, 2016 Update

EPA releases documents related to tribal stakeholder notifications. Read the documents.

Sept. 28, 2016 Update

EPA is releasing portions of four site files relevant to the agency’s Gold King Mine response. The documents relate to the agency’s work at Red & Bonita Mine, Upper Cement Creek Mining District, Upper Animas Mining District and the Gold King Mine. The documents are being released as part of the agency’s commitment to make Gold King Mine-related information available to the public. EPA continues to review and release documents from these four site files on a rolling basis.

The documents are available on an agency FTP site: ftp://newftp.epa.gov/GKM_DOCUMENTS/SITE_FILE_MATERIALS/9.28.16/

Sept. 1, 2016 Update

The Agency continues to collect and review documents responsive to FOIA requests related to the Gold King Mine release, and on 9/1/16 has posted additional records to the FTP site. While the documents posted to the FTP site generally are not searchable, they are being provided in this form in EPA’s effort to make information available to the public as quickly as possible. These documents will be further processed and posted in searchable form to FOIAonline in individual FOIA requesters’ publicly accessible FOIAonline accounts. EPA will update this site with links to FOIAonline collections of individually searchable documents when they are available. EPA continues to review records and will continue to make additional documents responsive to outstanding FOIA requests publicly available .

To download multiple documents at a time from an FTP site, there are numerous free software applications available online. If your web browser allows, you can also view the documents in a form that permits multiple downloads by copying and pasting ftp://newftp.epa.gov/GKM_DOCUMENTS into the address bar. This will allow you to navigate folders and select multiple documents at once.

Aug. 1, 2016 Update

EPA has developed a report to summarize the agency's efforts to address the release of acidic, mine-influenced water on August 5, 2015, from the Gold King Mine in Colorado. The report is titled "One Year After the Gold King Mine Incident: A Retrospective of EPA's Efforts to Restore and Protect Communities." Read the report. Read the transmittal memo accompanying the report. Read Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus's blog about the report.

July 29, 2016 Update

EPA has received numerous requests for documents related to the Gold King Mine and the surrounding area pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In response to these requests, EPA has collected and reviewed a large number of agency emails and associated attachments. In an effort to make information available on a rolling basis, EPA has made documents responsive to FOIA requests available. The Agency continues to collect and review documents responsive to FOIA requests and will make additional documents available as appropriate. The documents are available via an agency FTP site.

July 12, 2016 Update

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released two peer review documents related to the agency’s draft “Gold King Mine Analysis of Fate and Transport in the Animas and San Juan Rivers.” The analysis is now undergoing stakeholder review and is slated for release later this year. The Peer Review Summary Report of EPA’s Gold King Mine Analysis of Fate and Transport in the Animas and San Juan Rivers includes a summary of the peer reviewers’ responses to charge questions. EPA responded to every comment provided by the peer reviewers. The responses are available in EPA’s Response to Peer Review Comments.

June 21, 2016 Update

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) is providing stakeholders with in-depth technical briefings on the Gold King Mine Project’s updated draft Fate and Transport Analysis. Learn more.

June 13, 2016 Update

EPA performed water, sediment and additional sampling March 22-24, 2016, at multiple locations along the Animas and San Juan rivers, in accordance with the agency’s Conceptual Monitoring Plan. The data indicate that none of the sampled constituents exceed risk-based recreational screening thresholds for water or sediment. Additional sampling will be conducted this month and again this fall. EPA will also coordinate with local jurisdictions and tribes to sample the rivers during heavy rain events during the summer. View the sampling results: March 2016 Follow Up Monitoring Data (XLSX) (1 pg, 336 K) Access all water quality data in the watershed via EPA’s water quality portal. View the Monitoring Plan.

May 25, 2016 Update

EPA released performance data on the Interim Water Treatment Plant at Gladstone, Colo. EPA has been independently sampling and analyzing the untreated (influent) mine water and treated (effluent) at least monthly since the plant was installed in November 2015. The results have been used to evaluate how the plant is performing and to make any necessary modifications. The data indicate that the plant is meeting all EPA design and performance expectations. Interim Water Treatment Plant Inlet and Outlet Concentrations (XLSX) (1 pg, 29 K)

May 18, 2016 Update:

EPA has responded to a request by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) to provide additional assistance to address the impacts of the Aug. 5, 2015 Gold King Mine release. Read both letters.

May 5, 2016 Update:

EPA has released an updated Administrative Record file (AR) for the Gold King Mine site. The updated AR includes the Action Memorandum for the Gold King Mine Emergency Removal Action and the Community Involvement Plan for the Gold King Mine Release Emergency Removal Action.

Updated Administrative Record

As with the initial Administrative Record for the Gold King Mine site, the updated AR is being made available at the following locations: Silverton Library, the Durango Library, the Farmington Library, the Office of the Navajo Nation Library, and upon request. There will be a new 30-day public comment period on the updated AR.

May 5, 2016 Update:

EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus sent a May 3 letter regarding funding for spring runoff preparedness and water testing, in response to a letter from Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Ute Mountain Ute and Navajo Nation. Read both letters.

April 29, 2016 Update:

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on March 15, 2015 regarding compensation. The Administrator responded on April 19, 2016. View President Begaye’s and Administrator McCarthy’s letters.

April 22, 2016 Update:

EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus testifies before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in Phoenix, Arizona. His prepared testimony (PDF) (12pp, 90K, About PDF) is posted on the committee’s website.

March 31 Update:

EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus sent a memo to all EPA regional offices regarding planning for removal and remedial activities at hardrock mining and mineral processing sites with fluid hazards, and to share the Agency’s expectations for the work that is done at these sites. View the memo and related attachments here.

March 24 Update:

EPA released its final conceptual monitoring plan for the Animas and San Juan rivers. View the final monitoring plan here.

March 17 Update:

EPA Region 6 sent response letters to the New Mexico congressional delegation regarding monitoring activities and response reimbursement. View the letters here.

Feb. 23, 2016 Update:

EPA added letters to the state of Utah, the Ten Tribes Partnership, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and the Ute Mountain Tribe about potentially adding the Bonita Peak Mining District to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).  View the letters here.

Feb. 19, 2016 Update:

EPA added a letter to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper seeking the state’s concurrence on adding the Bonita Peak Mining District to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).  View the letter here.

Feb. 12, 2016 Update:

EPA added a letter to the Town of Silverton and San Juan County regarding the agency’s commitment to the Town and County’s involvement during a potential Superfund listing process. View the letter here.

Feb. 5, 2016 Update:

EPA researchers analyzed publicly available water quality and hydrologic data to characterize the release, transport, and fate (where a contaminant moves, how it changes, and where it ends up) of approximately 3 million gallons of acid mine drainage unexpectedly released from the Gold King Mine on August 5, 2015. This is a preliminary analysis and will be peer reviewed. Results will be shared with states, tribes, and the public when available. Tom Burke, EPA’s science adviser and the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Research and Development, presented the preliminary analysis to tribal, state and government leaders at EPA’s Region 8 headquarters on Feb. 5, 2016. The presentation is available here.

Jan. 28, 2016 Update:

EPA added comments that the Agency received on its Draft Monitoring Plan. To view the comments, click here.

Jan. 15, 2016 Update:

EPA has signed an Action Memo for the Gold King Mine release. The Action provides the basis for taking a response action at the Gold King Mine and applies only to the release on August 5, 2015, from the Gold King Mine. The Action Memo further describes the response actions and provides a cost estimate and authorization to expend agency funds for the response. To view the Action Memo, including the signature pages and two supporting attachments, click here.

Dec. 17, 2015 Update:

At the request of La Plata County, Colorado, EPA collected water and sediment samples at the mine entrance to test for an expanded suite of potential contaminants. To view the analysis and related data files, click here.

Dec. 10, 2015 Update:

EPA added contract documents related to the Gold King Mine. View contract documents here.

Dec. 8, 2015 Update:

EPA added an addendum to the agency’s internal report on the Gold King Mine incident. View the addendum and its associated documents here.

Dec. 2, 2015 Update:

EPA added two documents related to landowner consent for EPA access to Gold King Mine and nearby properties. View the documents here.

Nov. 4, 2015 Update:

EPA added documents related to a deviation request from the requirements in 40 CFR 35.6275, Period of Availability of Funds. The deviation will allow EPA Regions 6, 8 and 9 to award or modify existing Cooperative Agreements responding to the Gold King Mine Waste Water Spill. View documents here.

Oct. 27, 2015 Update:

EPA added a document relating to a community meeting in Silverton, CO.

Background: On Sept. 4, 2015, EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus, EPA Region 8 Administrator Shaun McGrath and officials from EPA’s Region 8 office met with local officials and community members from San Juan County, La Plata County, Silverton, Durango and the Southern Ute Tribe. Meeting participants discussed long-term options for addressing mining-related impacts to water quality in the Animas River Watershed, including the possibility of designating the area as a Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) site. EPA developed a document after the meeting to provide follow-up information on a number of stakeholder questions. View Q&A’s here.

For additional information on the Superfund cleanup process, visit the EPA’s Superfund site. Information on Superfund NPL is available here. And EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus discussed the Superfund NPL listing process in an Oct. 2, 2015 blog post, “Explaining How We Address Contaminated Sites.”

October 23, 2015: EPA requested an independent technical evaluation of the Gold King Mine incident by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The evaluation provided in the report was performed by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) and peer reviewed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). The report was issued on October 22, 2015 (132 pp, 10.85M, About PDF).

October 26, 2015 Update:

EPA added contract documents related to Gold King Mine. View contract documents here.

October 4, 2015 Update:

EPA added Initial Administrative Record documents related to the Gold King Mine. View Initial Administrative Record documents here.

October 1, 2015 Update:

EPA added contract documents related to the Gold King Mine. View contract documents here.

September 22, 2015 Update:

EPA added contract documents related to Gold King and Red and Bonita Mines. View contract documents here.

September 18, 2015 Update:

EPA added contract documents related to Red and Bonita Mines. View contract documents here.

September 17, 2015 Updates:

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Natural Resources Committee. View the prepared testimony here.

EPA released two documents:

  • Incident Command Transition Plan, Gold King Mine Release Incident, Animas River Operational Area
  • Post-Gold King Mine Release Incident Conceptual Monitoring Plan For Surface Water, Sediments and Biology

View the documents here.

September 16, 2015 Update:

EPA posts new surface water and sediment sampling data for locations along the San Juan and Animas rivers. View the data here.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy today testified before two U.S. Senate committees.

September 14, 2015 Update: EPA releases three sets of documents:

  • Gold King Mine Response Regional Sampling Plans (Interim Use). These plans are considered interim use plans because they are constantly being updated to address daily and weekly updates in sampling activities. View interim sampling plans here.
  • Contract Documents related to Gold King and Red and Bonita Mines. View contract documents here.
  • Documents related to landowner consent for EPA access to Gold King Mine property. View the documents here.

September 11, 2015 Update: EPA posts congressional testimony by EPA Assistant Administrator Mathy Stanislaus before the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space, and Technology Committee. View the testimony here.

September 8, 2015 Update: Documents related to mine work and stakeholder notifications:

  • Interim Guidance for Continuation of Work and Development of List of Superfund Mining and Mineral Processing Sites
  • Review of Regional and Area Contingency Plans for Downstream Notifications
  • Gold King Mine Stakeholders Alert and Notification Plan

View the documents here.

August 31, 2015 Update: Documents related to prior Upper Animas Mining District National Priorities List discussions. View the documents here.

August 28, 2015 Update: Documents related to legal agreements, grant funding, contract work, and response summary from Colorado employee on Gold King Mine. View the documents here.

August 27, 2015 Update: EPA releases a contractor's Draft Technical Memo of the August 5 incident, including photographs, an EPA On-Scene Coordinator's description of the events depicted in the photographs, and an EPA phone duty officer's memorandum to the file about the incident and certain subsequent events. View the documents here.

August 21, 2015: EPA releases the first collection of Gold King Mine file documents:

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