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Mine spill study seeks participants

The Daily Times
Megan Oller, an assistant engineer associate with Western Solutions Inc., measures water flowing out of Gold King Mine on Aug. 10, 2015.

FARMINGTON – A study of the Gold King Mine spill being conducted by researchers from two universities is seeking participants from three communities on the Navajo Nation.

The research team is from the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. The study was started last year with researchers collecting and testing water, sediment and soil samples from the portion of the San Juan River that flows through the communities.

This part of the study will focus on the short-term exposure and perception of risk of residents who were impacted by the mine spill, which saw the release of millions of gallons of toxic mine waste into the Animas and San Juan rivers last August, according to a press release.

Researchers are looking for enough participants to develop four focus groups in Shiprock and Upper Fruitland and in Aneth, Utah. Each group will consist of 10 individuals, and the names and identities of participants will remain private, the release states.

A series of community meetings to explain the study will be held for Shiprock residents at 10 a.m. Friday, at 6 p.m. Monday and at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Each meeting will be at the Shiprock Chapter house.

Meetings for Upper Fruitland residents will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Walter Collins Center and at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Upper Fruitland Chapter house.

The research team will also have meetings in Aneth, Utah, at 10 a.m. May 20-22 at the Aneth Chapter house.

For more information about the study, contact Karletta Chief, principal investigator, at 520-222-9801 or email her at kchief@email.arizona.edu.