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Biosolids, soils, crops, ground water, and streambed sediments in the vicinity of a biosolids-application area near Deer Trail, Colorado

PROJECTS

Biosolids, soils, crops, ground water, and streambed sediments in the vicinity of a biosolids-application area near Deer Trail, Colorado

Study Area: About 100 square miles in eastern Colorado (Arapahoe and Elbert Counties) east of Deer Trail, Colorado
Period of Project: 1999-2011
Project Number: CO406
Project Chief: Tracy Yager
Cooperator: Metro Wastewater Reclamation District

BACKGROUND:

Biosolids applied by Metro Wastewater Reclamation District (MWRD) to their properties near Deer Trail, Colorado:

  • could affect the quality of alluvial and bedrock aquifers, streambed sediments, and soils.
  • could affect water quality directly through contaminated recharge or infiltration through contaminated soils or sediments (remobilization).
  • can affect water quality indirectly through tilling that mobilizes or changes subsurface constituents or by contributions to natural processes such as nitrification.

Contaminated aquifer discharge or runoff could contaminate other aquifers, such as bedrock water-supply aquifers or alluvial aquifers, surface water (ponds or streams), or bed sediments.

Soil quality could be affected positively through increased nutrients and organic matter or negatively through nutrient overloading or metals loading.

The applied biosolids must meet metals and radioactivity regulations for the agronomic loading rates to be correct and to prevent an overload to the soils.

OBJECTIVES:

  1. To evaluate the combined effects of biosolids applications, other land uses, and natural processes on soils, crops, bed sediments, alluvial aquifers, and bedrock aquifers by comparing chemical data to regulations, to an unaffected (control) site, or to earlier concentrations from the same site (trends).
  2. To determine the hydrology of the bedrock aquifer in the study area.
  3. To monitor biosolids for metals and to compare the concentrations with regulatory levels.

More information about this study.

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