The Environmental Protection Agency is red-faced over a river it turned yellow-orange when its own federal mine cleanup specialists accidentally unleashed an estimated one million gallons of contaminated muck into Cement Creek.
The contamination spread down a river in southwest Colorado, turning the water a bright mustard yellow.
EPA cleanup specialists were supposed to be securing an entrance to Gold King Mine when the mishap occurred.
“The project was intended to pump and treat the water and reduce metals pollution flowing out of the mine,” said EPA spokesman Rich Mylott, in a statement reported by the Associated Press.
The creek feeds into the Animas River, then to the San Juan River in New Mexico and ultimately, the Colorado River in Utah.
Feds say there’s no drinking water damage. But officials say it’s not pretty.
“It’s really, really ugly,” said Butvh Knowlton, La Plata County director of emergency preparedness, to the Durango Herald.