Marble has a history deeply rooted in mining operations that have lingering effects on the area’s water quality. Marble is part of the Crystal River sub-watershed, which extends from the Elk Mountain Range peaks, down to the confluence of the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers in the town of Carbondale. Within this sub-watershed, there are active and inactive mines and areas of sedimentary rock formations that affect the water quality.
Marble ranks extremely low on the EPA’s Superfund Index, meaning there are several active superfund sites on the National Priorities List that pose threats to health. The lower the rank, the greater the associated risks.
At least 15% of the population in Marble is exposed to water exceeding quality violation limits. This is up 11.5% from the year prior and could likely increase in the years to come. It is very important for Marble residents to test their water and ensure that a proper purification system is in place.
Silver mining in the Ruby Mining district caused the deposit of high quantities of metals into Elk Creek, which flows into Coal Creek. These metals can spread throughout ground water networks and enter our residential water supplies. Commonly found metals include arsenic, cadmium, copper, lead, and selenium. There was a recent diesel spill at Yule Quarry that had seeped into groundwater, and concerns mount over how to remedy the area. Aspen WaterWise has received positive test results for gasoline additives in water. Long term exposure can harm the central nervous system.
Other factors that could negatively impact the area’s water quality are development along the riparian corridors and the associated land uses: building roads, logging, and grazing. Primary effects to the water quality are increases in iron and sediment content and decreases in pH. Phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, and aluminum have also been detected at levels exceeding water-quality standards.
Private wells are not regulated by municipalities, as they are not protected under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This means that the minerals and contaminants that compromise your well are unknown until it’s tested – and like municipalities, your water should be tested regularly. Aspen WaterWise has a variety of testing options to help create a tailored treatment plan for your unique water quality.
Bacteria levels can change with animal activity and snow melt, so coliform and E. Coli testing is advised annually. Residents might notice increases of nitrates throughout the year, especially near farming or livestock operations because of fertilizer applications and animal waste.
Some contaminants do not affect the taste, smell, or appearance of water, but may leave stains or cause discoloration on anything from bathroom fixtures to your hair or clothes. Aspen WaterWise’s solutions for reducing presence of elements like copper, iron, manganese, and zinc prevent these blue, green, red, and black stains.
Generally, Colorado has hard water because of its rich subterranean mineral content. Water throughout Colorado is considered moderately hard to very hard, depending on where you are. The levels of hardness can sometimes vary with the seasons; water can be slightly harder in the winter when cold temperatures freeze water supplies, allowing water to absorb more minerals. Systems that rely on groundwater (like most of the systems in Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin, and Gunnison counties) have greater hardness than systems that rely on surface water (like much of the Front Range) because minerals will dissolve into the supply as the water moves through soil and rocks. Contact Aspen WaterWise to discover how these minerals can impact your daily life, and to learn ways to monitor and control which minerals you allow into your home, ranch, or workplace.