This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is shutting off water pumps in anticipation of the polluted river water on its way to Southern Utah.

The NTUA turned off the pumps to Aneth and Montezuma Creek, towns near the Utah-Colorado border, according to the San Juan County Sheriff's Office. A surge of heavy metals-laced waste from the Gold King mine in Colorado has been snaking its way through the Animas River, a tributary of the San Juan River that enters southeast Utah.

The contamination is expected to arrive in the area of Aneth Montezuma Creek on Monday, the sheriff's office reported.

Residents near Bluff are watching the San Juan waiting for the contamination to arrive there. The Associated Press reported Saturday that contamination has reached New Mexico.

San Juan County will provide residents with drinking water through a clean, potable water tanker at the Montezuma Creek Fire Station beginning about 10 a.m. Sunday.

"At this time the water is for human use only and residents will need to bring their own containers to fill up," according to the sheriff's office. "Do not bring large tanks. Water is going to be limited to 25 gallons per family per day. We want to make sure that there is sufficient water for all families."

Utah environmental regulators have also recommended everyone to stay clear of the river until the extent of the pollution is better understood.

"It's going to be highly acidic and laden with heavy metals. You should stay away from that water," said Walt Baker, director of the Utah Division of Water Quality, on Thursday. "We don't know how evident it will be when it reaches Utah. We made contact with tribal leaders and health authorities."

The disaster began last Wednesday when Environmental Protection Agency workers at the Gold King triggered a sudden spill of an estimated 1 million gallons of acid orange-yellow wastewater that had built up inside the Gold King.

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