Then, now and next: The history and future of the Eagle Mine | VailDaily.com

Then, now and next: The history and future of the Eagle Mine

Katie Coakley
Special to the Daily

In 1984, the Eagle Mine above Minturn was allowed to flood after the mine was closed. The mine water deposited lead, cadmium, copper, arsenic and zinc into the Eagle River, killing fish and turning the river orange.

VAIL — More than 30 years ago, the Eagle Valley experienced an environmental event that changed our community; the ripples are still felt today.

On Tuesday, the Vail Symposium, in partnership with the Eagle River Watershed Council, will host a panel of experts to discuss the Eagle Mine: its past, present and future.

In 1984, the Eagle Mine above Minturn was allowed to flood after the mine was permanently closed. The mine water deposited lead, cadmium, copper, arsenic and zinc into the Eagle River in a dramatic event that turned the river orange, killed fish and threatened drinking water downstream.

In 1986, the Eagle Mine and the town of Gilman were placed on the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund site list and cleanup slowly began.

Tuesday, the Eagle Mine is once again a topic of conversation, not only in terms of remediation, said Larissa Read, president of the board of directors for Eagle River Watershed Council and owner of Common Ground Environmental Consulting who will moderate Today's panel, but also in terms of future land use.

"There's heightened interest in mines in Colorado as we learn about the history of these areas and their continued impact, including potential spills, like what happened with the Gold King Mine in southwest Colorado," Read said. "People want to know, could it happen again."

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The complex and successful collaboration between industry, the community and regulatory agencies will be highlighted. Additionally, the panelists will discuss proposed changes to remediation as well as business, operational and regulatory perspectives, and the viewpoints of our local community.

Meet the Panelists

In addition to Read, Today's panel will include Jamie Miller, a remedial project manager with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She has a B.S. in environmental science, with a focus on planning and administration. She began her career in the environmental field with a private consulting firm and spent six years working with the EPA as a contractor on the Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team contract, providing technical assistance to the EPA Emergency Response and Removal Program.

Wendy Naugle, P.E., is an engineer and groundwater hydrologist in the Superfund and Brownfields Unit at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Naugle holds a Bachelor's degree in geology from The Colorado College and a Master's degree in geological engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. Wendy has devoted a significant portion of her career to the remediation of the Eagle Mine.

John Widerman, a member of the Minturn Town Council, will round out the panel. He has lived in the Eagle Valley for nine years and in Minturn for six of those years. He is a local environmental steward, a Colorado Mountain College alumnus and an employee of Eagle County Schools.

The Eagle River Watershed Council will also host two tours of the Eagle Mine, the associated water treatment facility and environs on Wednesday.

IF YOU GO …

What: The History and Future of the Eagle Mine. Speaking locally with Jamie Miller, Wendy Naugle and John Widerman. moderated by Larissa Read.

Where: Edwards Interfaith Chapel, Edwards.

When: Aug. 1, Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; presentation begins at 7 p.m.

Cost: $25 online before 2 p.m. on the day of the event, $35 at the door, $10 for students and teachers, town of Eagle and Vail Resorts employees.

More information: Visit http://www.VailSymposium.org or call 970-476-0954 to register. The Eagle River Watershed Council will also host two tours of the Eagle Mine on Aug. 2.