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Every afternoon, Amtrak’s eastbound Empire Builder pulls out of Portland’s Union Station headed through the Columbia Gorge to Spokane where, in the wee hours of the morning, it hooks up to the train originating in Seattle.

Every afternoon, Amtrak’s eastbound Empire Builder pulls out of Portland’s Union Station headed through the Columbia Gorge to Spokane where, in the wee hours of the morning, it hooks up to the train originating in Seattle.

On Aug. 5, workers clearing contaminated waste at the Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado, inadvertently breached a dam at the mine entrance, releasing three mil-lion gallons of toxic waste-water into nearby Cement Creek, a tributary of the Animas River.