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The dam and reservoir, along with other treatment structures built at and below the mine, have successfully reduced the dry weather pollution of Spring Creek by up to ninety-five percent.Problems, though, still occur mainly in the form of large uncontrolled spills from the reservoir.The pooling of the water, however, made it extremely difficult for the pollutants to be removed.From 1955 to 1962, open pit mining began on the site.operated along the banks of two Spring Creek tributaries, upstream from the current dam site, from 1879 to the 1960s.
The spills contain many volatile components in acid mine drainage, which include the most acidic naturally occurring (i.e. Several alternatives were considered for remediating this problem: In 1985, it was found that water seepage into the foundations of the Spring Creek Dam could possibly cause its collapse.
Water is also diverted from Slickrock Creek to the treatment site.
Altogether, over 95 percent of toxins in the water are removed by the treatment process.
After work restarted on June 26, pervious core material for the dam was soon out of supply, so impervious material was used to complete the dam core.
The Iron Mountain Mine is known for having the most acidic naturally found water content on Earth, with samples having up to a −3.6 p H value when tested in the early 1990s, which is roughly 100 times the acidity of battery acid.
At its peak, the mine discharged 5 tons of iron, 650 pounds (290 kg) of copper, and 1,800 pounds (820 kg) of zinc into the stream per day.