Mexico acid leak leaves orange river, toxic water
She waited in the sweltering heat with her mother and two daughters for water brought into the town of Arizpe by a tanker truck, but left empty-handed after the truck ran dry, unable to meet the demand from the seven affected towns.
The housekeeper and farm laborer said she was afraid to even eat local food.
“If they kill a cow, we don’t know if we can eat it… They say if the (cattle) drink just a little water (from the river), they get infected,” she said.
An estimated 40,000 cubic meters (10.6 million gallons) of sulfuric acid, which is used to dissolve copper from ore for processing, leaked out of a holding tank at the mine, owned by leading Latin >American mining company Grupo Mexico.
The spill happened on August 6, but the authorities say the company only informed them 24 hours later.
Executives, who blame the spill on “abnormal rains” that caused the acid to overflow its holding tank, insist the government was alerted by email.
Juan Rebolledo, Grupo Mexico’s vice president for international relations, downplayed the impact.
“The content of these acids is not toxic in itself,” he said on radio network Formula.