Feasibility of in Situ, Passive Groundwater Treatment to Reduce Selenium Impacts from Reclamation Projects

Project ID: 7113
Principal Investigator: John Sottilare
Research Topic: Desalination and Water Treatment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2017
Keywords: None

Research Question

What studies and below ground methods currently show the most promise to intercept shallow, irrigation induced groundwater, at a point just up gradient from where it discharges into a surface-water drainage, and passively remove selenium in an economical and efficient way? What location within the Uncompahgre Project Area would be the most favorable place to perform, and assess the results of, a follow-up demonstration project using the most promising method(s) identified?

Need and Benefit

The lower Colorado and Gunnison Rivers in western Colorado and many of their tributaries are on the State of Colorado's 303(d) list of impaired waters for selenium, primarily due to irrigation drainage that mobilizes selenium from the local Mancos shale. These river segments also are critical habitat for 4 endangered fish species, and Reclamation is working with its partners to recover those fish.
Much of the source of this drainage is water delivered through Reclamation project facilities (Grand Valley Project & Uncompahgre Project). This same problem is occurring in other Reclamation project areas including many areas in California (San Joaquin Valley & Salton Sea).
Because of the diffuse and widespread nature of the source, a combination of selenium reduction efforts is needed locally, including best management practices, lining/piping canals and laterals, and treatment of selenium-contaminated surface water and groundwater at strategic locations. This proposed scoping effort aims to investigate available technologies for in situ selenium removal from groundwater and to identify locations within the study area best suited for a demonstration project.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Bureau of Reclamation Review

The following documents were reviewed by experts in fields relating to this project's study and findings. The results were determined to be achieved using valid means.

Feasibility of in Situ, Passive Groundwater Treatment to Reduce Selenium Impacts from Reclamation Projects (final, PDF, 3.0MB)
By John P. Sottilare, Judith Thomas
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.

Feasibility of in Situ, Passive Groundwater Treatment to Reduce Selenium Impacts from Reclamation Projects (final, PDF, 3.0MB)
By John P. Sottilare, Judith Thomas
Research Product completed on September 30, 2017

This research product summarizes the research results and potential application to Reclamation's mission.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17