Data obtained during a hydrologic reconnaissance in 1975-77 in the Wasatch Plateau-Book Cliffs coal-fields area of Utah were correlated with existing long-term data. Maps were prepared showing average precipitation, average streamflow, stream temperature, ground- and surface-water quality, sediment yield, and geology. Recommendations were made for additional study and suggested approaches for continued monitoring in the coalfields areas.
During the 1931-75 water years, the minimum discharges for the five major streams that head in the area ranged from about 12,000 to 26,000 acre-feet per year, and the maximum discharges ranged from about 59,000 to 315,000 acre-feet per year. Correlations indicate that 3 years of low-flow records at stream sites in the Wasatch Plateau would allow the development of relationships with long-term sites that can be used to estimate future low-flow records within a standard error of about 20 percent.
Most water-quality degradation in streams occurs along the flanks of the Wasatch Plateau and Book Cliffs. In the uplands, dissolved-solids concentrations generally ranged from less than 100 to about 250 milligrams per liter, and in the lowlands, the concentrations ranged from about 250 to more than 6,000 milligrams per liter.
Most springs in the Wasatch Plateau and Book Cliffs discharge from the Star Point Sandstone or younger formations, and the water generally contains less than about 1,000 milligrams per liter of dissolved solids. The discharges of 65 springs ranged from about 0.2 to 200 gallons per minute. The Blackhawk Formation, which is the principal coal-bearing formation, produces water in many of the mines. The dissolved-solids concentration in water discharging from springs and mines in the Blackhawk ranged from about 60 to 800 milligrams per liter.
In the lowland areas, the Ferron Sandstone Member of the Maneos Shale appears to have the most potential for subsurface development of water of suitable chemical quality for human consumption. Three wells in the Ferron yielded water with dissolved-solids concentrations ranging from about 650 to 1,230 milligrams per liter.
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USGS Numbered Series
Hydrologic reconnaissance of the Wasatch Plateau-Book Cliffs coal-fields area, Utah