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Chemical quality of ground water in Salt Lake Valley, Utah, 1969-85

Open-File Report 86-138

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Abstract

During 1979-84, 35 wells completed in the principal aquifer in the Salt Lake Valley, Utah, that had been sampled during 1962-67 were resampled to determine if water quality changes had occurred. The dissolved solids concentration of the water from 13 of the wells has increased by more than 10% since 1962-67. Much of the ground water between the mouth of Bingham Canyon and the Jordan River about 10 mi to the east has been contaminated by seepage from reservoirs and evaporation ponds associated with mining activities. Many domestic and irrigation wells yield water with concentrations of dissolved solids that exceed 2,000 mg/L. A reservoir in the mouth of Bingham Canyon contains acidic waters with a pH of 3 to 4 and concentrations of dissolved solids ranging from 43,000 to 68,000 mg/L. Seepage from evaporation ponds, which are about 4.5 mi east of the reservoir, also is acidic and contains similar concentrations of dissolved solids. East of the reservoir, where a steep hydraulic gradient exists along the mountain front, the velocities of contaminant movement were estimated to range from about 680-1,000 ft/yr. Groundwater underlying part of the community of South Salt Lake near the Jordan River has been contaminated by leachate from uranium-mill tailings. The major effect of the leachate from the tailings of the Vitro Chemical Co. on the shallow unconfined aquifer downgradient from the tailings was the contribution of measurable quantities of dissolved solids, chloride, sulfate, iron, and uranium. The concentration of dissolved solids in uncontaminated water was 1,650 mg/L, whereas downgradient from the tailings area, the concentrations ranged from 2,320-21,000 mg/L. The maximum volume of contaminated water was estimated to be 7,800 acre-ft. The major effect of the leachate from the Vitro tailings on the confined aquifer was the contribution of measurable quantities of dissolved solids, chloride, sulfate, and iron. The concentration of dissolved solids upgradient from the tailings was 330 mg/L, and beneath and downgradient from the tailings the concentrations were 864 and 1,240 mg/L. The minimum volume of contaminated water in the confined aquifer was estimated to be about 12,000 acre-ft. (Lantz-PTT)

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Chemical quality of ground water in Salt Lake Valley, Utah, 1969-85
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
86-138
Edition:
-
Year Published:
1986
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey,
Description:
v, 45, [16] leaves :ill., maps ;28 cm. (61 p. - PGS)