Naturally Degraded Water
Nature is the mother of all polluters
Humans are major polluters of the waters of the globe. However, Nature is the mother of all polluters because she has been polluting the waters of the planet for billions of years before humans were around. She alone covers the globe with natural sources of water contamination; including salt, acid, radioactivity, nitrogen, and metals such as arsenic, selenium, zinc, lead, iron, manganese, etc. As we attempt to regulate and clean up human pollution of water, it is important to recognize any natural pollution of water in a particular area. Understanding the geology in an area is important in recognizing natural sources of water pollution.
A report on natural contamination of groundwater near the proposed in-situ uranium mine in Weld County is available in Information Series 12 - Hydrogeologic and Stratigraphic Data Pertinent to Uranium Mining, Cheyenne Basin, Colorado. A map showing water wells with high levels of dissolved uranium can be viewed here.
A CGS study identifies geology as culprit for poor water quality in parts of Colorado in a new report, titled “Natural Acid Rock Drainage Associated with Hydrothermally Altered Terrane in Colorado.” The study identifies a number of streams in eleven different headwater areas of Colorado where surface water is acidic and has high concentrations of metals upstream of any significant human impacts. Click here for the press release.
To view a map and many images showing the areas that naturally create acid waters, select the Naturally Acidic Waters of Colorado map.
The publication can be ordered from the Colorado Geological Survey Bookstore or by phone at 303-866-2611.