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Abandoned Mines Spill Orange Sludge in Arizona

This undated photo shows orange sludge leaking from the Trench Camp Mine near Patagonia, Ariz. Heavy rain from Hurricane Odile has caused the two abandoned mines to spill orange sludge into waterways that lead to the popular Patagonia Lake in southern Arizona. Photo credit: Gooch Goodwin/Arizona Republic

This undated photo shows orange sludge leaking from the Trench Camp Mine near Patagonia, Ariz. Heavy rain from Hurricane Odile has caused the two abandoned mines to spill orange sludge into waterways that lead to the popular Patagonia Lake in southern Arizona. Photo credit: Gooch Goodwin/Arizona Republic

Source: Associated Press

A popular tourist attraction in southern Arizona is at risk of being contaminated with orange and brown sludge that spilled from two abandoned mines near Patagonia.

The Trench Camp and Lead Queen mines overflowed late last month because of heavy rainfall caused by Hurricane Odile.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has issued a notice of violation to an Asarco trust that owns the Trench Camp Mine near Patagonia, Arizona.

A resident near the Town of Patagonia noticed the sludge at the end of September, first at the Lead Queen Mine and later at the Trench Camp one, said Wendy Russell, coordinator for the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance. Both waterways lead to Sonoita Creek, which runs off into Patagonia Lake, the site of the state park.

Initial tests showed the water had unsafe levels of pH, but more will be conducted.

Other parts of the southern part of the state have been affected by the hurricane that damaged the Baja California peninsula. Last month, a copper mine in Sonora, Mexico, spilled into a water supply that leads to the San Pedro River. However, tests revealed the San Pedro River had not been contaminated.

Read more at Associated Press