EXCLUSIVE – Geologist Who Predicted EPA Spill: ‘They Just Didn’t Think’

A settling pond is used at Cement Creek, which was flooded with millions of gallons of mining wastewater, on August 11, 2015 in Silverton, Colorado. The Environmental Protection Agency uses settling ponds to reduce the acidity of mining wastewater so that it carries fewer heavy metals. (Photo by
Theo Stroomer/Getty Images

Dave Taylor, the retired geologist who predicted the EPA project that caused the 3 million gallon toxic spill into the Animas River in Colorado would fail, tells Breitbart News, “I didn’t really know they were going to fool with the Gold King mine in addition to the Red and Bonita mine.”

In a July 30 letter to the editor of the Silverton Standard, Taylor predicted that the EPA project to plug the Red and Bonita mine would fail “within 7 to 120 days,” and the 500 gallons per minute flow of toxic waste from those mines which the project stopped temporarily would resume again.

Six days later, on August 5, the EPA project caused 3 million gallons of toxic waste to flow into the Animas River.

“The EPA was basically deceptive. They were saying we’re going to plug the Red and Bonita mine with a hydrostatic reinforced concrete plug, then we’re going to see what will happen,” Taylor says in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News.

“The Gold King mine was already plugged by someone else years ago with wood timbers, rocks and mud, and it was exfiltrating an unknown quantity of water, and they decided to remove that old plug so they could see the true quantity of water it was leaking,” according to Taylor.

“That old plug in the Gold King mine was kind of unstable material,” he notes.

“It was incompetent and stupid for them to go up to that existing plug and try to remove it without knowing how much water was upstream and behind it and what the hydrostatic pressure was,” Taylor says.

“The plug was stable until they fooled around with it. Once they disturbed it, that’s what activated the blowout,” he adds.

“I have another letter coming out in the Silverton Standard paper where I clarify that I did not precisely predict this blowout,” Taylor admits to Breitbart News. “In my second letter I said I just can’t believe they were so … incompetent that they would go in there and attempt to do this –unplug the Gold King mine–without a backup plan.”

“When you’re fooling around with something like this, you better have a backup plan particularly when there’s a whole town immediately down river,” Taylor says.

“The Red and Bonita mine that I commented on in my first letter, I assume they’re drifts, that is, horizontal not vertical. The Gold King mine was one that is right in proximity to these other two. Somebody had plugged it in the past to reduce water coming out,” the retired geologist continues.

“They had some water at the Gold King mine exfiltrating at approximately 100 gallons per minute. Their objective was to release the water in a controlled fashion, I think,” Taylor says.

“They got a track hoe in there — a track hoe is like a back hoe, only it is bigger and has tracks instead of rubber wheels — and they wanted to open this thing up. But they did it without figuring out the hydrostatic pressure in the mine, which they could have done with core drilling from a location up slope of the mine,” he explains.

“I would have figured out the internal water pressure first, before doing anything,” Taylor says.

“They went to the entrance, the portal, and started blindly digging and this thing unloaded. Three million gallons behind that and it blew, and there was no stopping it,” he adds.

“They started digging on this thing and dislodged the plug and the water started coming through.”

Taylor has an extensive 47-year career as a professional geologist.

“I am not an academic type geologist. I am a hands on geologist. I worked for myself most years. I worked gold mines in Australia. I’ve been around the mining business a lot. In St. Louis I did work for Doe Run Mining. I did maybe 20 or 30 projects for them, some in and around Viburnum, Missouri.”

“My work was in ground water control. I probably repaired over four hundred leaking lakes in my career,” Taylor adds.

A graduate of Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, Taylor was born and raised in St. Louis.

After his career as a geologist, Taylor says, “we decided to move out here [to Farmington, New Mexico] and build a house.”

“I put my travel trailer in Silverton all summer. I ride around on my ATV and prospect for gold and silver.”

When asked if anyone from the EPA has attempted to contact him about his letter predicting a catastrophic spill, Taylor was emphatic in his response.

“No,” he says. “They don’t want to talk to me because they’re the experts.”

“That’s one thing about the government. They never gave any thought to the possibility this thing could blow. ‘If we take the plug out, there will still be just 100 gallon per minute coming out’ is what they thought.”

It is because of the bad attitude of the federal government bureaucrats, and especially those at EPA, that throughout his career, Taylor avoided undertaking projects for them.

“Whenever I worked for them, I always dreaded it because they have such a know-it-all attitude. That’s how they got in trouble on this deal. They just didn’t think,” Taylor says.


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