Just days after turning mustard yellow with lead, arsenic and other dangerous metals, the Animas River in Colorado returned closer to its old color Tuesday.
The plume is moving downstream and will eventually find its way into the Colorado River and San Diego County’s drinking supply.
Local water experts aren’t worried, believing the dangerous elements will dissipate well before reaching Southern California’s intake at Lake Havasu - 850 miles from the original spill.
“It’s going to dissipate,” said Gary Eaton, operations director of San Diego County Water Authority. “But if this thing were to happen today and have to move through all the reservoirs and all the containment all the way down through the system, it’s estimated it would probably be two years before it got here”.
Even with time and distance on their side, water authority workers are keeping a close eye on water quality.
Inside their Escondido operations center control room, every drop of imported water is monitored and controlled around the clock, officials say.
The EPA estimates three million gallons of toxic wastewater accidentally spilled into the Animas River from an abandoned gold mine last Wednesday, turning it orange.