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EPA spill turns Animas River orange

Updated 2:56 PM ET, Sun August 16, 2015
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An EPA worker takes a water reading in the Animas River near Durango, Colorado, on Friday, August 14. The river reopened for recreational use Friday afternoon in La Plata County, Colorado, where an EPA crew polluted the waterway with mine waste on August 5, authorities said. Eric Vance/EPA
The entrance area of the Gold King Mine is seen on August 14. Eric Vance/EPA
A settling pond is used on Tuesday, August 11, in Silverton, Colorado, at Cement Creek, which was flooded with millions of gallons of mining wastewater. Settling ponds are used to reduce the acidity of mining wastewater so that it carries fewer heavy metals. Theo Stroomer/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
The contaminated Animas River flows through Durango on August 7. Over 2 million gallons of mine wastewater made its way into the river, putting the city on alert. Brent Lewis/Denver Post/Getty Images
Tom Bartles shared views of the river from his backyard in Durango, before and after the spill. The before shot, on the left, was captured on August 6 when Bartles was aware the spill happened and was making its way down the river to Durango. The photo showing the "after" was captured on August 7. Courtesy Tom Bartles
The spill caused a spike in concentrations of total and dissolved metals in the water, the EPA said. Matthew Evans shot this photo August 7. Matthew Evans/CNN iReport
Evans shot these photos outside the Durango Riverside Resort. The top photo was taken on August 4; the bottom photo was shot August 7. Matthew Evans/CNN iReport
Kayakers float along the Animas River near Durango, Colorado, on August 6, in water colored from the mine waste spill. Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald/AP
"It was devastating to see this happen to our community. I was just in the river last weekend and we all love it around here," said Ryan Urban, who shot this photo in Hermosa. "Whenever there is any type of oil spill or waste in the water, it makes me hurt for the earth." Ryan Urban/CNN iReport
Contaminated water accidentally released by the EPA turned a stretch of the Animas River orange. Ian Lucier/CNN iReport
Durango resident Ian Lucier shot several photos of the river with his drone. Ian Lucier/CNN iReport
"I got a text from a friend of mine in the morning asking if I had heard about or seen the river. At that point the orange water hadn't reached town so I headed north to see if I could find it," Lucier said. "When I first saw it, I was speechless, [the river] didn't look real." Ian Lucier/CNN iReport
Authorities asked people to stay out of the water until EPA tests confirmed the contamination had dissipated. Ian Lucier/CNN iReport
"This is so insanely tragic and absolutely crazy. It feels like something out of a sci-fi novel/movie," wrote Durango native Kristen Goldman. She shot this photo August 6 from the Dalton Ranch Bridge. Kristen Goldman/CNN iReport