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Old 07-11-2004   #1
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 1
Looking for South Platte pollution info

I'm doing a class project to develop a GIS map to analyze pollution on the South Platte, specifically the Confluence section. Anyone know of any water quality tests done on this section (EPA, etc.), or any other section of the South Platte in Denver, and if the data is available to the public? Thanks in advance for any help.

Dave Hysom

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Old 07-11-2004   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 5
You might be able to get data from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Water Quality Control Division. They (and others) monitor water quality across the state. The general number is 303 692 3500. Ask for someone in the monitoring unit.

I have heard that the USGS collects water quality data, so they might be a source of info as well.

Also, you could do a search on this site for previous posts on the topic. I seem to remember several discussions over the last couple of years.


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Old 07-12-2004   #3
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Englewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Oct 2003
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I know a peed in there a couple times...

Seriously, run a search on the Buzz and you'll find a lot of chatter on this topic, and maybe a few links to real information. I'd send a PM to Claire (handle = mountainbuns). She seems to be one of the few people on the Buzz with some semblance of factual knowledge (rather than conjecture) about water quality around here. I'm pretty sure that this is perpiheral to her strict area of expertise, but she might be able to point you to good sources better than the rest of us buzzards.
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Old 07-12-2004   #4
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 46
Please do us a favor, and don't reveal what your results are. If I have to think about what i'm paddling in, it's not going to help relieve my stress any.
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Old 07-13-2004   #5
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,906
I've talked to Claire about this before and I think that she only analyzed for fecal coliform and had a student grab a sample in a makeshift container - its likely that the sample isn't representative of the water.

The South Platte is sampled by the USGS National Assessment of Water Quality (NAWQA) program. Here's the link to the online data retrieval: .

Here's the link to the South Platte NAWQA study: - you can access reams of data there. The NAWQA contact person is Lori Sprague with the USGS in Denver. She may be able to point you to more recent data than 1995 since they've been sampling recently for another phase of the program. Unfortunately its likely to be awhile until the recent data are released due to the extensive review process the USGS has.

I did some streambed sediment sampling between 8th and Zuni as a pre-construction assessment for when they get around to doing the restoration on that reach. It was a few years back and I'll check on whether the data are public record and can be released if anyone's interested. We didn't do any water sampling as part of my study though.

Remember to keep your mouth closed while boating at Effluence Park!

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