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Animas River Long Term Monitoring

study area

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

Did the Gold King Mine Spill Impact Groundwater in New Mexico?

Available for free download.

Technical Fact Sheet, 2018, (4.1MB)
January 2018, B. Talon Newton, Ethan Mamer, and Stacy Timmons

Hydrogeology and Geochemistry of the Animas River Alluvial Aquifer after the Gold King Mine Spill, San Juan County, New Mexico

Available for free download.

Open-file Report 592
October 2017, B. Talon Newton, Ethan Mamer, and Stacy Timmons

Groundwater Monitoring along the Animas River, New Mexico: Summary of Groundwater Hydraulics and Chemistry from August 2015 to June 2016

Available for free download.

Final Technical Report (3.9MB)
Appndix A-Well Inventory, Appendix B-Water Levels, Appendix C-Water Quality/Chemistry.
September 2016, Stacy Timmons, Ethan Mamer, and Cathryn Pokorny

Monitoring the Animas River Alluvial Aquifer Groundwater Chemistry after the Gold Mine 2015 mine-water release

Available for free download.

Power Point Presentation, made to New Mexico Geological Society - 2015 Annual Spring Meeting, (8.7MB)
2016, Stacy Timmons, Ethan Mamer, and Cathryn Pokorny

Animas River Groundwater Level Monitoring after the Gold Mine 2015 mine-water release

Available for free download.

Power Point Presentation, made to New Mexico Geological Society - 2015 Annual Spring Meeting, (11.8MB)
2016, Ethan Mamer, Stacy Timmons, and Cathryn Pokorny