The EPA edited out the “what do we do now?” part. Don’t want to broadcast exactly how incompetent you are.
If you watched all of those two videos, keep in mind that the EPA used threats of fines to get onto those properties in order to dump that contaminated water down rivers. The mine owner told them no and fought them on it because the EPA had dumped contamination from other mines into water supplies.
The water inside the mines was contained. There may have been some leaching, but there’s a big difference between a few ppm seeping out of a mine and several million gallons of toxic sludge sliding down into surface waterways. Contained water also would make for something easy to access and easy to clean up – it’s in one place. To make it crazy simple: they could’ve found the highest accessible point on the mine (or drilled from above to make a new one), run a pipe down into the mine, hooked it up to a pump and either a treatment area or a tanker truck to remove it, and done that slowly until the mine was emptied to a manageable level.
It’s not just easy in hindsight, it’s easy in foresight. Water gets into holes in the ground. The EPA knew this from the get-go, and knew it from the last time they spilled. Go from the top and you can take it out. Go from the bottom, and you get wet. It’s really not complicated.
Sir EPAingly: “Okay, we’re gonna undermine those walls so we can collapse the castle defenses and take the castle!”
Peasant conscript: “Uh, won’t the water flow into our tunnel and kill us all?”
Sir EPAingly: “Silence, peasant! I know what is best, for I am the heir to house EPA! We dig!”