The Sources of Water Pollution in North-Central Colorado

Water pollution is a major issue in north-central Colorado, with a variety of sources contributing to the problem. Common sources of water contamination include runoff from agricultural activities, such as fattening pens, grazing, and dairies; runoff from urban areas; and erosion caused by logging, construction sites, and roads. Additionally, some contaminants are naturally present in groundwater, but many are the result of human activities that produce chemicals or waste. The most common groundwater contaminants in Colorado are nitrate, fluoride, selenium, iron, manganese, radium, and uranium.

Figure 2 shows common sources of man-made contaminants. These include septic systems, the direct disposal of hazardous waste in the soil, landfills, spills or leaks from chemical storage tanks or ponds, leaks from military and weapons manufacturing sites, leaks from wastewater pipes, agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, waste from active or abandoned mining facilities, and the migration of waste from the ground surface to groundwater through poorly constructed wells. Everyday items such as agricultural pesticides, antibiotics, household microplastics, sunscreens and insect repellents can also end up in streams and rivers. The Regional Board has primary responsibility for addressing New River water quality problems attributable to activities in the United States.

It has been controlling pollution caused by diffuse sources of pollution through the implementation of the State Diffuse Source Management Plan and the State Watershed Management Initiative. This requires the development and implementation of total maximum daily loads for components that damage the river. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the U. S.

Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (US IBWC) are also responsible for border pollution. Short-term and long-term strategies are needed to improve water quality prospects in California. Water is a precious resource in California and maintaining its quality is essential for public health and the environment. Water quality and aquatic and riverine habitats in and near Fountain Creek and its tributaries have been declining for several decades due to mismanagement of storm sewer systems. Stormwater sediments are the most common contaminant in rivers, streams, lakes and reservoirs.

These sediments can degrade drinking water quality, wildlife habitats, aquatic ecosystems and coastal ecosystems. Groundwater quality in Colorado is addressed in the Colorado Water Quality Control Act. Water quality data from public groundwater systems indicate that nitrate, fluoride, selenium, iron, manganese, alpha radiation (radon) and uranium are the most common contaminants. Sources can be natural or they can be the result of planned or unplanned discharges and can be classified as derived or not derived from waste. In general, groundwater from crystalline rock fractured aquifers is not confined and water levels fluctuate seasonally with rainfall. Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) has expanded globally over the past 20 years as an option for water management.

The most common scenario has been the suppression of water tables in mineralized areas which changes redox conditions from reducing to oxidizing leading to mobilization of metals bound to sulfide minerals. The City will meet requirements by inspecting existing structures to ensure they are functioning properly; installing new stormwater management structures; and improving existing stormwater management structures to increase their capacity to capture and remove stormwater pollution. The alluvial groundwater of the Yampa River basin is generally of calcium and sodium bicarbonate when it is derived from erosion of sandstone or granite rocks. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is responsible for administering water quality regulations while many wells in the upper basin show strong seasonal fluctuations with highest water levels corresponding to snowmelt and spring runoff in the mountains. The water in Denver Basin aquifer system is generally of good quality meeting state and federal drinking water standards while infrastructure will be necessary to bring source water to recharge point when needed. In conclusion, it is clear that there are a variety of sources contributing to water pollution in north-central Colorado. Natural contaminants come from rock formations which can include metals and radionuclides; methane; high salinity; sulphate; causing an increase in total dissolved solids while management of waters in Gunnison River basin is under jurisdiction of Colorado Water Division 4 with its divisional office located in Montrose.

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