Evaluating the Effects of Fluvial Tailings Deposits on Water Quality in the Upper Arkansas River Basin, Colorado: Observational Scale Considerations

Smith, Kathleen S. ; Walton-Day, Katherine ; Ranville, James F.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
Four different scales of observation were used to evaluate the potential effects of a fluvial tailings deposit on water quality along the flood plain of the upper Arkansas River south of Leadville, Colorado. First, we collected surficial material and subjected it to batch water-leaching test. Second, we excavated and leached an intact eight-inch diameter core. Third, we examined the water quality of the shallow ground water beneath the fluvial tailings deposit, and fourth, we monitored water quality along a 5-km reach of the adjacent Arkansas River. Leaching of surficial samples indicates that there is a reservoir of readily water-soluble material yielding elevated metal concentrations and high acidity. However, there are minimal measurable water quality effects of the fluvial tailings deposit on the adjacent reach of the Arkansas River.
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