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Environmental Health - Toxic Substances

Toxics Program Remediation Activities

Summitville Mine and its Downstream Effects


Site Characterization

Location Summitville, Colorado
  • Water Treatment
  • Backfilling, Capping, and Plugging of Mine Workings
  • Cyanide
  • Metals

The Summitville gold mine in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado was the focus of extensive public attention in 1992 and 1993 due to environmental problems stemming from open-pit mining. Summitville catalyzed national debates about the environmental effects of modern mining, and became the focus of arguments for proposed revisions to the 1872 Mining Law governing mining on public lands. In early 1993, USGS scientists and their partners began a multidisciplinary investigation to provide needed scientific information on Summitville's environmental problems and downstream environmental effects. The Summitville investigation shows how geologic and geochemical information can be used in future mining operations to more effectively anticipate and mitigate potential environmental effects of mining for metals.

More Information
Contact Geoffrey Plumlee, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO,
Plumlee, G. S., and Edelmann, P., 1995,
The Summitville Mine and its Downstream Effects: U.S. Geological Survey, An ON-LINE UPDATE of Open-File Report 95-23.

USGS Acid Mine Drainage Remediation Projects

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