Historic mining activities in Breckenridge, Colorado, have left a legacy of mine-impacted lands and mine features such as shafts, adits, and waste/tailings piles. As the town-site has expanded many of these features have been incorporated into residential areas. Mine Influenced Waters (MIW) produced by these mine features contribute metals-laden and low pH waters into fisheries and drinking water reservoirs.
MIW discharging from the Willard Adits form the initial source of impacted waters which drain into Iron Springs Gulch. Iron Springs Gulch, in turn, flows into Illinois Gulch and eventually into the drinking water source of Dillon Reservoir via the Blue River, approximately 7.5 miles downstream. Additionally, Iron Springs Gulch is further impacted as water from the Willard Adits and surface flow/runoff filter through the Willard waste rock pile (Willard Pile), which lies at the foot of the Willard mine adits. Surface waters flow through the pile, react with the inherent sulfide mineralization and produce additional low pH metals-laden water.
Consolidation and cover installation on the Willard pile, and remediation of additional low pH metals-laden water flowing from the Willard adits, will improve habitat in the Blue River fishery as well as the drinking water resource in Dillon reservoir. Bioremediation of low pH, metals-laden water flowing from the Willard Adits #1 and #2 (Willard Adits) is considered a long-term and low-cost remedial option to address a long-standing contamination issue within a residential portion of Breckenridge, Colorado.
In addition, the Removal Program, in conjunction with the State of Colorado, intends to divert water so that it does not enter the mine works that feed into the Willard Adits, thus reducing the amount of degraded water discharging from the adits. This work will be conducted by the TransAmerica Company under the direction of an EPA UAO.