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Water turned off in two small Utah towns due to contamination from Colorado mine

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The scene of a mine waste release in Colorado. Image via EPA On-Scene Coordinator website.

SAN JUAN COUNTY, Utah — Due to the contamination from a release of mine waste in Colorado that polluted the Animas River, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is shutting off the water pumps to the towns of Aneth and Montezuma Creek and up to 25 gallons of water per family per day will be provided at the Montezuma Creek fire station.

According to a press release from Sheriff Rick Eldredge in San Juan County, the contamination from the mine accident is expected to enter the Aneth/Montezuma Creek area on Monday.

In response, the NTUA has shut off the water pumps to both towns. San Juan County will have clean, potable water in a tanker at the Montezuma Creek Fire Station starting Sunday around 10 a.m.

The release states: “At this time the water is for human use only and residents will need to bring their own containers to fill up. Do not bring large tanks. Water is going to be limited to 25 gallons per family per day. We want to make sure that there is sufficient water for all families.”

According to census data from 2000 retrieved by Google, Montezuma Creek has a population of 507 and Aneth a population of 598.

The waste was spilled as an EPA team was investigating the mine near Silverton, Colorado. Officials at Glen Canyon Recreational Area have warned people not to swim in or drink the water in the San Juan River arm of Lake Powell.

Click here for more details on the spill and the reaction from Utahns.