California Water Science Center Scientists Will Discuss Their Research on Drinking Water Sources at the 2019 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona

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The annual meeting of the Geological Society of America supports the geological community in the scientific discovery, communication, and application of geoscience knowledge. This year’s meeting will feature 28 short courses and workshops, 6 Pardee Symposia, and 201 topical sessions and symposia, as well as other networking and learning opportunities.  

The mission of the Geological Society of America is to advance geoscience research and discovery, service to society, stewardship of the Earth, and the geosciences profession. For more information on these and other presentations, visit the annual meeting website.

The two presentations by California Water Science Center scientists are:


Transport and Fate of Metals in Extremely Acidic Mine Water at Iron Mountain Mine, California, and Downstream Environments (Keynote Presentation)

Presented by Dr. Charles Alpers, Research Chemist

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 3:30 p.m.

At its peak production, Iron Mountain ranked as the tenth largest copper production site in the world, sixth in the U.S. and first in California. During its operation, from 1879 to 1963, ten different mines throughout the site's 4,400 acres were the source of not just copper, but also other minerals, including pyrite (iron sulfide). The massive sulfide deposits at Iron Mountain have been responsible for some of the world’s most acidic mine drainage, which had adverse effects on the Sacramento River near the city of Redding, which receives its drinking water from the river. The mine site was one of the first localities listed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on its National Priority List under the Superfund (CERCLA) Program in 1983. Water treatment and other remedial actions have greatly improved water quality downstream of the mine site starting in 1994. This presentation describes the geochemistry of acid mine drainage sources at Iron Mountain and the transport and fate of metals downstream of the site, and how water quality has improved with time in response to remedial actions.



Assessing Regional Groundwater Availability in California’s Coastal Basins

Presented by Zachary Stanko, Hydrologist

Monday, September 23, 2019, 9:25 a.m.

California coastal basins comprise an aquifer system that is among the nation’s largest producers of potable groundwater (drinking water). The system consists of 131 groundwater basins distributed throughout the coastal regions of California. In the year 2000, fresh groundwater withdrawals from California coastal basins accounted for an estimated 4% of total withdrawals from all aquifers across the country. As part of a USGS effort to provide an updated estimate of the groundwater availability of the aquifer system, a framework is being developed for analyzing and displaying water budget components for each of the 131 basins. This study is particularly timely and relevant to California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act of 2014 (SGMA).  Since these coastal basins are located up and down the state, a one size fits all approach to modeling will not work. Therefore, a variety of methods are being employed in this study. In his presentation, Mr. Stanko will discuss the framework and the variety of modeling techniques being used in this research.