Transport Mechanisms in Sediment Rich Streams, Heavy Metal and Nutrient Load of the Rio San Jose-Rio Puerco Systems
Because of the possibility that uranium mining and milling activities could contribute harmful substances to surface water, the project purpose was to determine physical and chemical characteristics of water and sediments in the San Jose-Puerco River system in New Mexico. Water samples were analyzed for general chemistries, sediment load, nutrients, heavy metals and radioactivity. Suspended sediments and bed-load sediments were analyzed for heavy metals and radioactivity. Dissolved metals in the Rio San Jose were not elevated with respect to the Rio Puerco. The lower Rio Puerco showed elevated levels of Mo and V with respect to the Rio Grande. Elevated levels of As, Cd, Co, Hg, Mo, U, V, and Zn were found in Rio San Jose suspended sediments. Analyses of bed-load sediments indicated elevated levels of As, Hg, and U in both the Rio San Jose and Rio Puerco. An attempt was made to study the means of transport of the elevated species.
Project No. B-062-NMEX