Environmental Health - Toxic Substances
Hard-Rock Mining Contamination
Information on Contamination Associated with Active and Abandoned Hard Rock Mining
Thousands of historical hard-rock (gold, copper, and zinc) mines exist across the Western United States. Mine dumps, tailing piles, and unmined mineral deposits can contaminate the surrounding watershed when weathering of exposed minerals causes acid drainage and metals-enriched waters. Research, focusing on the processes that affect migration of contamination and ecological effects, are underway in watersheds with differing climate and hydrologic settings. Results are being used and demonstrated through the USGS Abandoned Mine Lands Initiative.
Science Feature Articles
Toxics Program Abandoned Mine Lands Investigations