Lead, arsenic and other toxic metals are finding their way into streams, ponds and drinking water in several states, including Colorado.

For more than 100 years mining operations were given a free pass to take all of the minerals they were mining and leave the site as is, which allows the sludge from those mines to escape, untreated, into water sources. Ultimately, taxpayers are the ones footing the bill for cleanup.

The amount of polluted water, according to the study, could fill 2,000 tanker trucks. The Gold King miming disaster in Colorado released over 3 million gallons into the water in Colorado and Utah. That release was done by the EPA, which involved a huge lawsuit from Utah totaling 1.9 billion dollars.

Endless pollution, huge cleanup costs, and decades of polluted water offer no easy solution. Even superfund cleanup sites are faced with similar issues. More pollution than they can clean up.

The EPA has a cleanup plan in place, and are prepared for the accidental release of toxic fluid, but with 50 million gallons of it finding its way into water sources, it seems the plan may have more to do to alleviate the issue.