Study region: This study focuses on the Colorado River watershed in the area along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Study focus: This study utilizes anthropogenic chemical tracers to investigate the fate of treated wastewater effluent discharged within Grand Canyon National Park. Anthropogenic chemical tracers were used to discern preferential structurally controlled pathways in a complex regional network of faults and fractures in which some are conduits and others barriers to flow. New hydrological insights for the region: Previous investigations on water resources of Grand Canyon have suggested two different discharge locations (Garden Springs versus Monument Spring) for the treated wastewater discharged on the South Rim of Grand Canyon yet the presence of wastewater at the springs remained unstudied for decades. The treated wastewater from Grand Canyon Village is released into Bright Angel Wash that flows along the surface expression of the Bright Angel Fault and past the inferred intersection with the perpendicular Monument Fault. Multiple anthropogenic compounds (pharmaceuticals, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and elevated nitrate) were found in Bright Angel Wash and Monument Spring. Stable isotopic measurements at Monument Spring show depletion over time also suggesting contribution from a depleted stable isotopic source found in the treated wastewater. The anthropogenic tracers utilized in this study provide good insight to which geologic structures are conduits versus barriers to flow and can be useful in other fracture flow and karst settings.
|Title||Utilizing anthropogenic compounds and geochemical tracers to identify preferential structurally controlled groundwater pathways influencing springs in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA|
|Authors||Kimberly R. Beisner, Nicholas V. Paretti, Jeramy Jasmann, Larry Barber|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Arizona Water Science Center; New Mexico Water Science Center; WMA - Earth System Processes Division|