Because of the historical deposition of mill tailings in flood plains, the process of determining total maximum daily loads for streams in an area like the Park City mining district of Utah is complicated. Understanding the locations of metal loading to Silver Creek and the relative importance of these locations is necessary to make science-based decisions. Application of tracer-injection and synoptic-sampling techniques provided a means to quantify and rank the many possible source areas. A mass-loading study was conducted along a 10,000-meter reach of Silver Creek, Utah, in April 2004. Mass-loading profiles based on spatially detailed discharge and chemical data indicated five principal locations of metal loading. These five locations contributed more than 60 percent of the cadmium and zinc loads to Silver Creek along the study reach and can be considered locations where remediation efforts could have the greatest effect upon improvement of water quality in Silver Creek.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Principal Locations of Metal Loading from Flood-Plain Tailings, Lower Silver Creek, Utah, April 2004