Research continues into Fountain Creek pollution in Pueblo County

Research continues into Fountain Creek pollution in Pueblo County

PUEBLO, Colo. - Fountain Creek in Pueblo has been polluted for years after Colorado Springs accidentally dumped wastewater into the creek, but Pueblo County is dedicated to the creek's recovery and is continuing to fund research by students and faculty at Colorado State University-Pueblo.

The water running through Fountain Creek in Pueblo tells the story itself: it is cloudy and has an unpleasant smell.

The county has been dealing with the issue for years, and former CSU-Pueblo professor Scott Herrmann has been researching it since 2007.

"What we're doing is we're looking at the entire food chain starting with what's the concentration in the water," Herrmann said.

But now, with an additional $32,000 in research funding from the county, researchers are hoping to find out exactly what lurks below the water's surface.

CSU-Pueblo staff and students have been collecting water samples, and they say there are large amounts of mercury and selenium in the water.

"Mercury can be a problem. It has a whole syndrome, a whole set of symptoms if you see mercury levels getting too high," Herrmann said.

County Commissioner Terry Hart said he just wants the Pueblo community to be able to enjoy the creek, as the people of Colorado Springs do.

"Citizens are invited down to play in and around the creek and it's a beautiful thing. We can't do that in Pueblo County and we have not been able to do it because of our pollution concerns," Hart said.

He also wants to make sure the Pueblo commissioners and the city of Colorado Springs are keeping up their promises to clean up the creek.

The researchers are also looking at the fish in Fountain Creek to determine what issues they are facing and if contaminants are being passed on to people who catch and eat them.

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