Ground-water flow and quality near Canon City, Colorado

Water-Resources Investigations Report 87-4014




Water in aquifers that underlie the Lincoln Park area near Canon City, Colorado, contains measurable concentrations of chemical constituents that are similar to those in raffinate (liquid waste) produced by a nearby uranium ore processing mill. The objective of this study was to expand the existing geohydrologic data base by collecting additional geohydrologic and water quality, in order to refine the description of the geohydrologic and geochemical systems in the study area. Geohydrologic data were collected from nine tests wells drilled in the area between the U.S. Soil Conservation Service dam and Lincoln Park. Lithologic and geophysical logs of these wells indicated that the section of Vermejo Formation penetrated consisted of interbedded sandstone and shale. The sandstone beds had a small porosity and small hydraulic conductivity. Groundwater flow from the U.S. Soil Conservation Service dam to Lincoln Park seemed to be along an alluvium-filled channel in the irregular and relatively undescribed topography of the Vermejo Formation subcrop. North of the De Weese Dye Ditch, the alluvium becomes saturated and groundwater generally flows to the northeast. Water samples from 28 sites were collected and analyzed for major ions and trace elements; selected water samples also were analyzed for stable isotopes; samples were collected from wells near the uranium ore processing mill, from privately owned wells in Lincoln Park, and from the test wells drilled in the intervening area. Results from the quality assurance samples indicate that cross-contamination between samples from different wells was avoided and that the data are reliable. Water in the alluvial aquifer underlying Lincoln Park is mainly a calcium bicarbonate type. Small variations in the composition of water in the alluvial aquifer appears to result from a reaction of water leaking from the De Weese Dye Ditch with alluvial material. Upward leakage from underlying aquifers does not seem to be significant in determining the chemical composition of water in the alluvial aquifer. (Author 's abstract)

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USGS Numbered Series
Ground-water flow and quality near Canon City, Colorado
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
v, 72 p. :ill., maps ;28 cm.