Utah, U.S. officials to launch study on mining pollution in Lake Powell
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah and U.S. government officials will launch a study this month to determine the extent of mining pollution in Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border.
Heavy metals washed into Lake Powell over the decades by flash flooding will be dug up from the river deltas to assess metal concentrations, The Deseret News reportedthis week.
The study will provide information about how mining affects the lake and the fish that live in it. Researchers will test for levels of arsenic, cadmium, copper, mercury and lead.
The lake is a key part of a water system that provides drinking water to 40 million people in the Southwest.
“This study will help us understand whether human activities such as mining in the San Juan River watershed have impacted or pose a risk to the important recreational, aquatic life and cultural resources of the San Juan River and Lake Powell,” said Erica Gaddis, director of the Utah Division of Water Quality.
Gaddis’ agency will join the U.S. Geological Society, the National Park Service and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the project.
“This is the first study to collect and characterize sediment through the full thickness of the San Juan and Colorado river deltas,” said Scott Hynek, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey.
Preliminary findings of the study are expected in 2020.
It comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accidentally triggered a massive release of wastewater laden with toxic metals at the Gold King Mine in Colorado three years ago. The estimated 3 million gallons of wastewater carrying 540 tons of metals washed into rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
Utah has sued the EPA, seeking $1.9 billion after the waste wound up in the San Juan River and at Lake Powell. The state continues to monitor the effects of that spill.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Business Briefs: Keith Webster Construction returns; Rossingol goes from pop-up to permanent in Aspen; Solar Garfield event March 4
After a 10-year hiatus in Napa Valley, California, Keith M Webster Construction has returned to the Roaring Fork Valley.