State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2010AZ320B
Title: Use of Fish as Integrative Samplers of Uranium and Lead Isotopes in the Colorado River
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 7/01/2010
End Date: 6/30/2011
Congressional District: AZ-07
Focus Categories: Toxic Substances, Water Quality, Radioactive Substances
Keywords: Radiogenic isotopes tracers
Principal Investigators: Sanchez, Charles (University of Arizona); Chesley, John Theodore (University of Arizona); Reinthal, Peter N.
Federal Funds: $ 9,900
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 19,816
Abstract: The Colorado River is contaminated with low levels of uranium (U)and other metals. Uranium is a health concern as a potential carcinogen and as a causal agent of kidney dysfunction. Renewed emphasis on alternative energy sources has revived interest in uranium (U) mining on the Colorado Plateau. The Colorado River which transects and drains the plateau is used both as a source of drinking water and a source of irrigation water for food crops. The objective of these proposed studies are to evaluate fish tissue as an integrative sampler of U, Pb, and other metal contaminants in the Lower Colorado River region. We propose to utilize high-precision analyses of radiogenic isotopes (Pb, U, and Sr) to identify probable sources of these elements and by proxy, other potential contaminants. These data, as well as other we have collected on water, sediments, soil, and plants are critical in identification of the sources and pathways of these potential toxins in the food web. This information is a prerequisite for any possible effort to reduce human exposure to these and other toxic elements. These measurements will also provide a baseline should future exploration and mining activity enhance contamination or accidental release occurs.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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