Planning for Remediation of Irrigation-Induced Water Quality Problems in the Middle Green River Basin, Utah

by Stephen J. Noyes, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Boise, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


Reconnaissance investigations and detailed studies between 1986-1990 under the National Irrigation Water Quality Program of the Department of the Interior identified and quantified elevated concentrations of selenium associated with irrigation drainwater in the Middle Green River Basin in northeastern Utah. Elevated selenium concentrations were found in Stewart Lake Waterfowl Management Area which receives, drainwater from the Jensen Unit of the Bureau of Reclamation's Central Utah Project. Elevated selenium concentrations also were found in Ashley Creek and its mixing zone in the Green River. Small amounts of the selenium in Ashley Creek are derived from the Vernal Unit of the CUP, but most is from non-irrigation related sources. Waterfowl deaths and embryonic deformities have been found in Stewart Lake. Endangered fish live in the Green River in the vicinity of Stewart Lake and Ashley Creek. Remedial planning began in 1991 to develop the most implementable alternatives to correct the irrigation-related selenium problems. Remedial measures will be developed to 1) reduce selenium levels in water and bottom sediment, 2) minimize ecological hazards, and 3) minimize public health risks. General types of potential remedial options proposed include: institutional changes, collection and treatment, disposal, dilution, source control, and no action. A preferred plan including National Environmental Policy Act compliance will be available in late 1994.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Rivers and streams | Selenium | Irrigation water | Mitigation and remediation | Drainage basins | Aquatic habitats | Water pollution | Utah | United States

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