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Arsenic Contamination from Hard Rock Mining -- Whitewood Creek-Belle Fourche River, South Dakota

In 1985 the USGS initiated a study of contamination from mining activites in the Whitewood Creek-Belle Fourche River-Cheyenne River-Lake Oahe surface-water systems in southwestern South Dakota. The map gives locations of water-quality monitoring stations and the sections of river affected by mining wastes
In 1985 the USGS initiated a study of contamination from mining activites in the Whitewood Creek-Belle Fourche River-Cheyenne River-Lake Oahe surface-water systems in southwestern South Dakota. The map gives locations of water-quality monitoring stations and the sections of river affected by mining wastes

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Mining wastes from the processing of gold ore were deposited in Whitewood Creek, South Dakota, for more than 100 years. About 100 million tons of finely ground gold-mill tailings, containing arsenic and other trace elements, mixed with natural sediments and were deposited in channels and flood plains downstream. This study, now concluded, characterized the downstream dispersal of contaminants through water movement, sediment transport, transfer of contaminants from sediments to water, and uptake of contaminants by aquatic organisms. Information gathered helped evaluate the long-term threat of the contaminants to the stream ecosystem and to downstream water supplies.

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