Mine cleanup to include bus stop, hiking trails

9NEWS @ 5. 9/14/2016

BRECKENRIDGE - In her Breckenridge neighborhood, Ali McAlpine is glad to see yellow and red colors showing up on the leaves.

But seeing that same red color in water flowing from small streams and ponds isn’t loved as much.

“It is really red," McAlpine said. "It’s not very pleasant to bike past."

It’s been the color of water there since anyone can remember. It's a reminder of the mining history in Summit County dating back to the 1800s. The water that's loaded up with iron turns the rocks and mud red or orange.

It's something Scott Reid, Breckenridge Director of Recreation, says after about a decade of planning is finally getting fixed.

“We have a long history of trying to improve the water quality in this valley,” Reid said.

Breckenridge and Summit County are splitting the $300,000-ish price tag with money from open space and transportation to try to keep all the red water underground by covering the ponds and streams with rocks.

"When the water comes to the surface, it allows for the iron oxide to develop and you get the orange color that occurs," Reid explained. "If the water stays sub-surface, it doesn’t oxidize as quickly and there is some filtration process that occurs underground."

Engineers say the water won’t hurt humans, but cleaning up the site will improve aquatic health. He also said while they’re dealing with the water, they will also give residents in the nearby neighborhood a new bus stop.

“We’re trying to find a way to get people to get to and from town easily,” Reid said.

That's something McAlpine and the kids in her day camp will enjoy -- a stop much closer to their house than the current one.

Along with the water cleanup and new bus stop, the work will also include some new hiking trails.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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