WRD Colorado District

Hydrogeology of a Biosolids-Application Site Near Deer Trail, Colorado, 1993-99

By Tracy J.B. Yager and L. Rick Arnold

Available from the U.S. Geological Survey, Branch of Information Services, Box 25286, Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO 80225, USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4209, 90 p., 16 figs., and 3 plates

This document also is available in pdf format: Adobe Acrobat Icon WRIR 03-4209.pdf (3.5 MB)(Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

The citation for this report, in USGS format, is as follows:
Yager, Tracy J.B., Arnold, L. Rick, 2003, Hydrogeology of a Biosolids-Application Site Near Deer Trail, Colorado, 1993-99 : U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 03-4209, 90 p.


This report presents hydrogeology data and interpretationsresulting from two studies related to biosolids applications atthe Metro Wastewater Reclamation District property near DeerTrail, Colorado, done by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperationwith the Metro Wastewater Reclamation District: (1) a 1993-99 study of hydrology and water quality for the MetroWastewater Reclamation District central property and (2) a1999 study of regional bedrock-aquifer structure and localground-water recharge. Biosolids were applied as a fertilizerduring late 1993 through 1999. The 1993 Metro WastewaterReclamation District property boundary constitutes the studyarea, but hydrogeologic structure maps for a much larger areaare included in the report. The study area is located on the easternmargin of the Denver Basin, a bowl-shaped sequence ofsedimentary rocks. The uppermost bedrock formations in thevicinity of the study area consist of the Pierre Shale, the FoxHills Sandstone, and the Laramie Formation, parts of whichcomprise the Laramie-Fox Hills hydrostratigraphic unit andthus, where saturated, the Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer. In thevicinity of the study area, the Laramie-Fox Hills hydrostratigraphicunit dips gently to the northwest, crops out, and is partiallyeroded. The Laramie-Fox Hills aquifer is either absent ornot fully saturated within the Metro Wastewater ReclamationDistrict properties, although this aquifer is the principal aquiferused for domestic supply in the vicinity of the study area. Yieldwas small from two deep monitoring wells in the Laramie-FoxHills aquifer within the study area. Depth to water in these wellswas about 110 and 150 feet below land surface, and monthlywater levels fluctuated 0.5 foot or less. Alluvial aquifers also arepresent in the unconsolidated sand and loess deposits in the valleysof the study area. Interactions of the deeper parts of theLaramie-Fox Hills aquifer with shallow ground water in thestudy area include a general close hydraulic connectionbetween alluvial and bedrock aquifers, recharge of the CottonwoodCreek and much of the Muddy Creek alluvial aquifers bythe bedrock aquifer, and possible recharge of the bedrock aquiferby a Rattlesnake Creek tributary. Some areas of shallowground water were recharged by infiltration from rain or ponds,but other areas likely were recharged by other ground water.Data for shallow ground water indicate that ground-waterrecharge takes less than a day at some sites to about 40 years atanother site. Depth to shallow ground water in the study arearanged from about 2 feet to about 37 feet below land surface.Shallow ground-water levels likely were affected by evapotranspiration.Ground water is present in shallow parts of thebedrock aquifer or in alluvial aquifers in four drainage basins:Badger Creek, Cottonwood Creek, Muddy Creek, and RattlesnakeCreek. These drainage basins generally contained onlyephemeral streams, which flow only after intense rain.





Purpose and Scope


Description of Study Area

Topographic Features

Land Use


Data Collection






Bedrock Aquifer

Location and Extent

Hydrologic Properties

Shallow Aquifers

Aquifer Interaction


References Cited


 I. Methods of Data Collection and Construction of Maps and Hydrogeologic Sections

II. Hydrogeologic Data

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