USGS Water-Quality Data and Activities for the 2015 Gold King Mine Release
Water-Quality Sampling Data
USGS gage 09358550, Cement Creek at Silverton. Photo taken September 29, 2012. Credit: USGS. This photo is in the public domain. Higher resolution version is available.
USGS has collected water-quality samples at a number of sites downstream from the Gold King Mine since the August 2015 release. As part of our routine science activities, USGS collects water-quality data around the Nation. The region near Silverton, Colorado, has been an area of extensive USGS research on abandoned mine lands and on natural sources of metals and acidity to streams. The locations, types of data, and frequency of data vary based on the objectives of the USGS program or study for which they were collected.
Two main databases are available with data for the area of interest:
USGS Gold King Mine Release Database
Download the Data
For convenience and ease of access, USGS has compiled a database of USGS National Water Information (NWIS) water-quality data, referred to as the USGS Gold King Mine Release Database [25MB ZIP]. The zip file includes copies of the database in two formats: a Microsoft Access Database and a comma-separated-values text file.
What does the database include?
The USGS water-quality sites included in the database were selected based on the criteria below. Both approved and provisional data are contained in the database.
The data are from USGS water-quality sites in the area around and downstream from the Gold King Mine, including
The database currently includes data from more than 80 USGS National Water Information (NWIS) water and sediment sites. Download a comma-separated-values file with information about the included NWIS sites [55KB CSV]. Site information in this file includes information about a location where samples were collected or measurements were made, such as the site name, NWIS site number, hydrologic unit code, latitude/longitude, and other site metadata; it does not include the results of Site measurements or sampling.
The NWIS sites sampled by USGS after the August 5, 2015, release are:
Gold King Mine portal. Photo taken August 12, 2015. Credit: USGS. This photo is in the public domain.
Only data for selected water-quality parameters of interest were included. The list of parameters to include was compiled by USGS scientists based on
A list of the parameter names, explanations, units, and media is available for download:
Period of Interest
There is no restriction on the start date. The database includes all relevant data up to the current time, including any available public USGS data collected since the August 2015 release.
Other Common Questions
How often is the USGS Gold King Mine Release Database database updated?
The Gold King Mine Release Database file provided on this web site is updated periodically. The frequency will vary depending on the availability of new data.
Are there any restrictions on use of these data?
The data are in the public domain and have been publicly released.
The USGS Gold King Mine Release Database includes NWIS data-quality indicator codes (DQI_CD):
Provisional Data: Preliminary or provisional data are subject to revision. They are being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The data have not received final approval by the USGS and are provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the data.
Approved Data: Unless otherwise stated, all approved data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the USGS, no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty.
Do these data include EPA data?
No. For EPA data, please contact the EPA.
Why is the USGS limiting access to just these sites and parameters?
The Gold King Mine Release Database is intended to increase access to USGS data by making it easier to quickly access and download data of potential interest to anyone studying the August 2015 release. If you are interested in other USGS data, you can download data from the National Water Information System (NWIS) web site or any other USGS water-quality related national databases.
Why aren't the data available as soon as they are collected?
The amount of time between when a sample is collected or when a measurement is made in the field and when that information is available online varies for a variety of reasons, including:
Can the USGS analyze some data for me?