Millions of gallons of waste turn Colorado river yellow
The waste water has turned parts of the Animas River a bright mustard yellow and now threatens to enter a lake that provides large parts of America's southwest with drinking water.
The discharge, containing high concentrations of heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury and lead, was continuing to flow at the rate of 500 gallons. The Environmental Protection Agency does not believe wildlife is in significant danger because the sludge moved so quickly downstream.
An unspecified number of residents living downstream of the spill who draw their drinking supplies from their private wells have reported water discoloration, but there has been no immediate evidence of harm to human health, livestock or wildlife, according to EPA officials.
Still, residents have been advised to avoid drinking or bathing in water drawn from wells in the vicinity, and the government was arranging to supply clean water to homes and businesses in need.
Local authorities took steps to protect drinking water supplies and farms.