Naturally Degraded Water
Nature is the mother of all polluters
Red Mountain in the Grizzly Peak Caldera feeds acid waters into the South Fork of Lake Creek.
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 a proposed in-situ uranium mine in Weld County is available in IS-12 – Hydrogeologic and Stratigraphic Data Pertinent to Uranium Mining, Cheyenne Basin, Colorado.
Water wells with high levels of dissolved uranium.
An award-winning CGS study, titled Natural Acid Rock Drainage Associated with Hydrothermally Altered Terrane in Colorado, identifies geology as the culprit for poor water quality in parts of Colorado. The study identifies a number of streams in eleven different head water 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.
Map showing the areas that naturally create acid waters.