From the Summit County Citizens Voice (Bob Berwyn):
Beautiful as Saints John Creek may look, it’s heavily polluted with cadmium, copper, lead and zinc that leaches into the water from weathered waste rock and from the underground workings of the former mine. Concentrations of some of the metals, especially zinc, are so high that the water is deadly to fish and to the aquatic bugs they feed on. As a result, the short stream segment has been listed as impaired since 1998.
This summer, the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety plans to start cleaning up the mess with an ambitious $500,000 restoration project that involves moving some of the exposed tailings away from the water to an upland repository, where they’ll be capped and covered with native vegetation.
State officials may also divert some of the water pouring out of an old mine opening to prevent the water from coming in contact with the weathered rock. Altogether, they hope the work will reduce the amount of dissolved zinc in the water by about three pounds per day. Zinc is particularly toxic to trout, impairing their ability to breathe.
More water pollution coverage here.