January 30, 2015
Pollution from an old sulfur mine on the east
slope of the Sierra in California is overflowing into a creek that
runs into the East Fork of the Carson River, which flows into
The California Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board
says a combination of acid drainage from the Leviathan
(luh-VY'-ah-thun) Mine and rainwater in ponds at the mine started
running into Leviathan Creek, and anyone in the remote area, near
Markleeville, California, should avoid the overflow.
The drainage is a toxic stew of sulfur, arsenic and dissolved
heavy metals such as copper, nickel, aluminum and iron. The mine
drainage is flowing into the creek at a rate of about 50 gallons
per minute, and the pond overflow is adding a similar amount.
The pollution is expected to continue for a few days until crews
can set up an emergency treatment system to neutralize the acid