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Water Quality in the Cienega Creek Basin

Sites with parameter concentrations that have equaled or exceeded drinking water standard(s) (DWS), including location and parameter(s) are shown in Table 3.3-6A.  Impaired lakes and streams with site type, name, length of impaired stream reach, area of impaired lake, designated use standard and parameter(s) exceeded is shown in Table 3.3-6B.  Figure 3.3-9 shows the location of exceedences and impairment keyed to Table 3.3-6.  All community water systems are regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act and treat water supplies to meet drinking water standards.  Not all parameters were measured at all sites; selective sampling for particular constituents is common.  A description of water quality data sources and methods is found in Volume 1, Appendix A.  Information on contamination sites in the basin is in Section 3.0.6 Water Supply - Contamination Sites.

Well, Mine or Spring sites that have equaled or exceeded drinking water standards (DWS)

  • Refer to Table 3.3-6A.
  • Forty-six sites have parameter concentrations that have equaled or exceeded DWS. 
  • Frequently equaled or exceeded parameters include cadmium and copper.  Almost all of these sites are in the vicinity of Patagonia.
  • Other parameters commonly equaled or exceeded in the sites measured in this basin were arsenic, fluoride and lead.

Lakes and Streams with impaired waters

  • Refer to Table 3.3-6B.
  • Water quality standards were equaled or exceeded in two reaches of Alum Gulch, the entire length of Harshaw Creek, a tributary of the Endless Mine tributary and Humbolt Canyon.
  • The parameters exceeded in every stream were copper and pH levels.  Other parameters exceeded include cadmium and zinc.
  • Harshaw Creek and Alum Gulch are part of the ADEQ water quality improvement effort called the Total Maximum Daily Load  (TMDL) program.  The TMDL report for both streams was accepted by the EPA in 2003.  USFS has completed remediation of the World’s Fair and Humboldt Canyon mines on Alum Gulch and a draft TMDL Implementation Plan is available.
  • There is one small portion of Sonoita Creek in the vicinity of Patagonia that is effluent dependent.


Click to view Table 3.3.-6

Click for Table 3.3-6 Water Quality Exceedences in the Cienega Creek Basin

Click to view Figure 3.3-9

Click for Figure 3.3-9 Cienega Creek Basin

Water Quality Conditions



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