A PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT OF THE NATURAL AND ANTHROPOGENIC GEOCHEMISTRY OF THE RED MOUNTAIN CREEK AND UNCOMPAHGRE RIVER WATERSHEDS: IRONTON MINING DISTRICT, CO
Studies over the past twenty years, have suggested for site-specific locations, the highly mineralized zones may be additional sources of inputting heavy metals into streams. We assumed that heavy metal concentrations found in the streams come from weathering of highly complex mineral assemblages, as well as from mining activities. It was our objective to establish the geochemistry in the streams in areas above and below mining activity and remediated areas and to evaluate the impact of remediation. Water quality data were collected for Aluminum (Al), Cadmium (Cd), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Lead (Pb), Maganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), and temperature, electrical conductance, pH, and dissolved oxygen.
Twenty-five samples were filtered with a 45mm membrane filter and twenty-five were left unfiltered. Samples were collected in-stream after determining the discharge of each stream. The samples were evaluated using an ANOVA analysis. It appears that minimal concentrations were significantly higher from streams on the east side compared to the west side. Analysis of discharge values suggest that the remediation does minimize heavy metal transport at high-flow levels, but does not during low flow conditions