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Animas River Long Term Monitoring

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— January 25, 2018

Our agency has been collaborating with the New Mexico Environment Department on a hydro-geology study along the Animas River to better understand the groundwater and surface water interactions. This research initiated in response to the Gold King Mine spill (August 2015), as part of a long term monitoring effort. The role of the NM Bureau of Geology has been to examine the hydrologic connections between groundwater and the Animas River, the irrigation ditches, and the private wells. We have found that the river is largely a “gaining” river, where groundwater moves into the river. However, in winter and early spring, a few locations along the river have the potential to change to a “losing” river (where river water seeps into the groundwater system). After repeated groundwater quality sampling, we have found that there is currently no indication of Gold King Mine water in the groundwater along the Animas River in New Mexico. For safe measure, we recommend that groundwater quality monitoring should continue at least annually in many of the groundwater wells.

Funded by the New Mexico Environment Department, Aquifer Mapping Program and the Bureau of Geology.

For more information, please contact:
Stacy Timmons, Hydrogeologist / Aquifer Mapping Program Manager

AMP-Relevant Publications

  1. Newton, B. Talon; Mamer, Ethan; Timmons, Stacy, 2017, Hydrogeology and Geochemistry of the Animas River Alluvial Aquifer after the Gold King Mine Spill, San Juan County, New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau of Geology Mineral Resources, Open-file Report, v. 0592, pp. 65.
  2. Timmons, Stacy; Mamer, Ethan; Pokorny, Cathryn, 2016, Groundwater Monitoring along the Animas River, New Mexico: Summary of Groundwater Hydraulics and Chemistry from August 2015 to June 2016, New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources - Aquifer Mapping Program, Final Technical Report, pp. 39. [Appendices: A-Well Inventory, B-Water Levels, C-Water Quality/Chemistry]

  3. Stacy S. Timmons, Ethan Mamer, and Cathryn Pokorny, 2016, Monitoring groundwater chemistry in the Animas River alluvial aquifer after the Gold King Mine 2015 mine-water release, Program with Abstracts: 2016 New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting
    April 8, 2016, Macey Center, New Mexico Tech campus, Socorro, NM, p. 66. [Talk slides]

  4. Ethan A. Mamer, and Stacy Timmons, 2016, Examination of the Animas River Alluvial Aquifer Hydraulics after the GKM spill, Program with Abstracts: 2016 New Mexico Geological Society Annual Spring Meeting, April 8, 2016, Macey Center, New Mexico Tech campus, Socorro, NM, p. 47. [Talk slides]

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