Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the Animas River

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When did this incident happen?

The Gold King Mine breach happened north of Silverton on August 5, 2015.


Is the river open?

Yes. Sheriff Sean Smith made the decision to open the river to recreational use with a health advisory from the state health department. Our primary concern is the public health and safety of our community. With the release of preliminary results from the state health department and its accompanying recommendation, the Animas River is open for recreation effective Friday, August 14, 2015 at noon with the health advisory. Health advisory:


Is the drinking water safe?

Yes. The City of Durango wants to remind residents and businesses that if they pay their water bill to the City of Durango, their tap water is safe to drink. City staff turned off and blocked the intakes from the Animas River before the plume reached Durango. The decision to resume pumping was made after the City received the results of independent water quality tests. On August 12th, the City was notified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment that the City could begin drawing water from the Animas River as needed for drinking water treatment.


What about the air quality in the area?

This Gold King Mine situation was not an airborne contamination. The air quality in the area is not affected by this incident.


Were there effects on wildlife?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has not seen or heard of any adverse impacts to terrestrial wildlife. CPW staff is continuing to monitor the river and local wildlife.


Additional resources and information:

La Plata County:
San Juan Basin Health Department:
Durango Area Tourism Office: or 800-525-8855
Colorado Department of Health and Environment:
City of Durango: