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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

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Hardrock Mining in Rocky Mountain Terrain -- Upper Arkansas River, Colorado

USGS scientist collecting a water sample from St. Kevin Gulch, Colo.
USGS scientist collecting a water sample from St. Kevin Gulch, Colorado, during a tracer injection experiment. Water-quality monitoring data collected during the experiment is use to characterize both flow in the stream channel and associated flow in bed sediments below the stream channel.

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Mined watersheds in the Rocky Mountains are characterized by high altitudes, significant runoff and numerous contaminant sources dispersed through the watershed. Research on hardrock mining contamination in Rocky Mountain terrain is focused in the Arkansas River Basin. Acid mine drainage containing metals enter streams via runoff from mine wastes and tailings and ground-water pathways. The metals and acidic conditions are toxic to aquatic life. Scientists have studied contaminant source mechanisms, transport and transformation in streams, and how to use this knowledge to determine effective remedial strategies.

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Project Remediation Related Activities

Other Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Related Activates

Other USGS Information on Acid Mine Drainage and Abandoned Mine Lands

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