November 2021

Salt lake city

“It’s my super power now”: Utah residents living with HIV work to break down stigma surrounding the disease

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – When Sequan Kolibas was diagnosed with HIV eight years ago, the mother-of-one kept him to herself for years, largely fearing the reaction of others to her news.

Those fears were confirmed when she let out her secret one day while talking to a friend.

“We were just talking about HIV and, and I had kind of a seizure and I told him I had it and he was like, ‘Well, only hookers and junkies get HIV. So which one are you? ‘ “

Kolibas’ fear of the stigma surrounding the disease had proven to be justified. That had been her biggest concern when she learned she had contracted the virus from her five-year-old partner, a man.

“It was extremely scary, it changed my life,” she recalls. “To be honest. I had periods of suicidal thoughts, severe depression. I just thought my happiness and my life was over. I let HIV become who I am, instead of being a woman. part of who I was, I let my diagnosis define me.

On Wednesday, December 1, World AIDS Day will be celebrated, in remembrance of those who have lost their lives due to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, which is initially caused by a diagnosis of HIV. The occasion of 2021 is particularly poignant as it marks 40 years since the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first reported the emergence of AIDS among gay communities in New York and California.

Originally dubbed “gay cancer,” the HIV and AIDS epidemic has been ravaged by misinformation, misunderstanding and, of course, stigma against those who contract the virus. Researchers ultimately reduced its primary means of transmission to sharing needles or injection equipment, exposure to blood in open wounds, and sexual intercourse. The shocking announcement of NBA star Magic Johnson’s infection in 1991 showed that HIV can affect people of any sexual orientation – gay or heterosexual – but many of the stigmas have always been hard to shake.

“I think this has persisted since the 1980s,” says Heather Bush, who manages the HIV program for the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) to “In addition to dealing with a life-threatening disease, and all that it means, people with HIV worry about what people are going to think or how they are being paid. It’s just a huge additional burden that people have to face. And I think a lot of it is perception.

The truth is that living with HIV in 2021 is very different from what it was in 1981, as testimonials and information from a new UDOH campaign,, shows. While illness is still a part of life; the website says every three days a new Utah resident is diagnosed with HIV, no longer a death sentence.

Advances in prevention and treatment have made transmission nearly impossible for people with the disease who take appropriate measures, which can be as simple as a daily pill for antiretroviral therapy (ART) and extra precautions for antiretroviral therapy (ART). sexually active people. The new term in HIV medicine is “U = U”. The antiretroviral drug can reduce the amount of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels. If it is undetectable, it cannot be transmitted to others.

“We know it’s still there, we know they still have the virus, but it’s so weak that not only does it protect them and keep them from getting sick, but it also prevents them from passing it on to others. people, ”he added. Bush says, adding that those who have an HIV-positive partner who are not infected can also take preventative drugs. “We have a lot of tools that we didn’t even have 5 to 10 years ago.”

The biggest obstacle that remains is stigma, as both Bush and Kolibas agree. While medical advances have provided the means to make the spread of HIV and AIDS much more difficult if the right precautions are taken, opening the dialogue is still a work in progress.

Kolibas has since found purpose by sharing its story and founding a nonprofit that provides resources to those infected and information to those with outdated fears and misconceptions about HIV and AIDS.

“You don’t have to change who you are, it doesn’t define who you are,” she says, mentioning that her T-cell count, or the number of disease-fighting blood cells, is higher than before. diagnostic. “We are opening the conversation to educate people so that we can reduce this stigma for people. “

For years, many have thought that even routine, non-sexual or blood-related contact with someone living with HIV could be dangerous. Kolibas’ mission now is to shatter these misconceptions.

“It’s the misconception of ‘Well it’s just a gay disease’, or if somebody has it, you can’t share the same utensils, you can’t squeeze them in their arms you can’t drink out of the same cup as them It’s just about education now I’m kind of using HIV as my superpower now.

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Utah economy

Jason Utgaard is gaining momentum with his recycling career

Coming from a retail background, Jason Utgaard decided to forge his own path and moved to Sustainability Services about 7 years ago.

“My family owned and operated a national chain of 75 sporting goods stores,” he says. “I’ve worked in a variety of roles – from setting up new stores to helping manage the distribution center to analyzing data at head office – it was a global experience. “

Utgaard is the Managing Director of Momentum Recycling in Salt Lake City, Utah. Momentum was founded in 2008 with the mission of bringing communities towards zero waste. The company provides comprehensive recyclable collection services to over 1,000 organizations and over 10,000 residents along the Wasatch Front.

“Since the inception of Momentum Recycling, the company has processed hundreds of millions of pounds of recyclable material, transporting it from thousands of customer locations to responsible treatment facilities,” Utgaard said.

As the 2021 winner of Waste360 40 Under 40, Utgaard sat down with the publication to discuss their role at Momentum Recycling, their initiatives and their passion for sustainability.

Waste360: Describe your role as Managing Director of Momentum Recycling.

Jason Utgaard: I oversee Momentum Recycling’s commercial and residential recycling collection services. As a full service zero waste company, I manage our wide range of services related to food waste recycling, glass recycling, mixed recycling, hard to recycle collections as well as waste audit services. My role is to work with new and existing municipal partners, which largely relates to our monthly curbside glass recycling service for their residents as well as public drop-off points for glass recycling.

Waste360: How do you help communities move towards zero waste?

Jason Utgaard: I led the expansion of our curbside glass recycling service from a single city to over 17 cities, many of whose residents previously did not have access to glass recycling. I also had the idea of ​​painting murals on our public glass recycling dumpsters (pictured below – I can share others as well) to help spread awareness of these places and to show how recycling helps preserve Utah’s natural beauty.

Another area where I help to have a significant impact in the evolution of communities towards zero waste is the fight against food waste. Momentum Recycling is now Utah’s primary food waste transporter, in large part thanks to years of public outreach to business entities to educate them about the impact of food waste on the climate and its correlation with US dollars. state tourism.

Waste360: Tell me about your company’s glass recycling initiatives.

Jason Utgaard: Momentum Recycling operates Utah’s only glass recycling facility. We collect glass from our collection services and public drop-off points locally, as well as over 350 miles from neighboring states who collect it through their various municipal programs. Once processed, we send the glass to various local businesses who use it in their products, which in turn helps support Utah’s economy.

On the residential side, we offer a monthly curbside glass recycling collection for residents to choose from. In Salt Lake City in particular, 16% of households are now subscribed to the service, which will hopefully soon reach the tipping point where the city will consider an unsubscribe program for all residents. We also collect glass from over 60 public drop-off points along the Wasatch Front.

Commercially, many types of organizations subscribe to our glass recycling collection service, from bars and restaurants to apartment complexes. We serve incredibly difficult areas geographically given our mountains here, especially in ski resorts. Regardless of the customer, I am proud of our team to always find a way for them to recycle their glass. These customers are then included in our “Support Blue Businesses” directory on our website, which helps residents support not only local businesses, but also local businesses that also go the extra mile to be sustainable.

Waste360: What are your goals?

Jason Utgaard: One of my biggest goals for next year is to work with our local municipalities to review the establishment of an ordinance requiring (1) liquor licensees to recycle their glass and (2) grocery stores. and full-service restaurants to recycle their food waste. . I am fully aware that these ordinances on the surface seem entirely selfish in light of our affairs; However, with nearly a decade of experience performing waste audits and reading various city waste characterization studies, these two streams compromise around 60% of the waste stream of these business entities. If we want to achieve zero waste, this type of requirement must be put in place.

Another goal is to expand our residential food waste collection service. Even though many towns in our area offer a green waste service, it is primarily for yard waste – and many residents are unsure which compostable foods are accepted. I know we can divert a lot more food waste out of the residential sector than we currently are, and what’s exciting here is that residents really want a service that allows them to do that all the way through. year.

Longer term goals include developing a geographically extended network to provide more glass for our facility, as well as significantly expanding our existing outreach work to include a school curriculum that we could provide to local schools that include interactive presentations such as live virtual tours of the various recycling facilities in our region.

Waste360: What advice would you give to others working in the field of sustainability?

Jason Utgaard: My only advice is that it’s important that the work you do on sustainability is measurable. Avoid engaging with people who only get involved in the hype: work with people who roll up their sleeves and produce real results. You need to know your diversion or emission reduction goal up front and compare your performance to it when implementing your proposed solution.

Waste360: What professional achievement are you most proud of?

Jason Utgaard: I am very proud of my work on the municipal side working with many cities to help them change their existing municipal codes to allow them to adopt better recycling services. Much of the focus during these discussions is not so much on how to help Momentum Recycling deliver its services to residents, but on how to rewrite the code to allow a path for future collection services. selective that might become viable later than we can not predict at this point. time. By creating this framework, we hope to help other startups succeed in their zero waste efforts later.

Waste360: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Jason Utgaard: In 5 years, I know without a doubt that I will still be working in sustainable development. I also think that after working closely with so many board members over the years, I will become more involved in the public service to some extent.

Waste360: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Jason Utgaard: Given our proximity to the mountains, I enjoy mountain biking and hiking in the summer as well as skiing and snowboarding in the winter. I also like to build furniture and interior decorations using reclaimed materials.

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Salt lake city government

Mormons believe there is an ancient lost town in Iowa: no joke

According to the Book of Mormon and The Church of Latter-day Saints, Zarahemla was a large ancient city located in the Western Hemisphere, possibly in Iowa. So far archaeologists and historians have not found any verifiable evidence of the location of the city (good laugh, I did this the entire time I wrote this).

Yesterday, according to, an archaeological investigation began to determine if Montrose, IA is the site of the ancient city (the religion’s founder Joseph Smith said the city was in Guatemala according to The population of this small river town in southeast Iowa is only 764 people.

This city appears in several Book of Mormon stories, but to summarize, says the following:

The city of Zarahemla and its surroundings were not originally Nephites (a member of a people descended from Nephi, a son of the Jewish prophet Lehi who ruled a Jerusalem colony in America c. 600 Before Christ organized as a church by the risen Christ and exterminated by the Lamanites, leaving the scriptures recorded in the Book of Mormon). Around 323 BC. In AD, a Nephite named Mosiah found the city already built. The Book of Mormon explains how Mosiah came to this country and later became king.

The people of Zarahemla had come from the land of Jerusalem under the leadership of Mulek, the only surviving son of King Zedekiah. The inhabitants of Zarahemla are thus often called Mulekites. The Nephites taught their language to the Mulekites and united to form one people, appointing Mosiah to be their king.

Zarahemla was the capital of the Nephite nation as well as the center of its government, religion, and culture.

Essentially, Zarahemla was to the old Mormon world what Salt Lake City is to today’s Mormons.

Although the survey has recently started, according to, work to find the city of Iowa has already started:

With the tools of modern science, proof of the lost city emerges from the ground. We have already searched in a way our fathers could never have imagined. In November 2020, we took SENSYS MX V3 equipment from Germany to Montrose, the cornfields of Iowa, to places God identified through His Prophet as Zarahemla. We have found traces of thousands of ancient homes revealed in magnetic images – these images describe the largest 4th-century city in North America.

To learn more about the city’s research and excavation, visit here.

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Salt lakes real estate

High Desert Museum in West Idaho in desperate need of help

Our culture is commemorated in a true high desert museum. It is located a short distance south of downtown Bend, Oregon. I visited last year after receiving a recommendation from a friend. Twin Falls even gets a good nod when it comes to a famous effort by Evel Knieval to skip the Snake River. I didn’t know until a few days ago that the museum was affiliated with the Smithsonian in Washington, DC

The museum is a treasure

My visit kept me busy for almost two hours. There are old trucks, photos, paintings and even displays of live animals. I was watching owls and told a guide that the animatronics were awesome. She made me look like I was a great yoke of the desert. “They are real,” she said impassively.

Much of Oregon was in serious lockdown when I was there. It didn’t help the museum’s results. It kept people away. Had to plan my visit in advance in 2020 due to social distancing requirements. The museum has regulated pedestrian traffic and reduced the number of visitors. At ten dollars per person for non-senior adults, it adds up after a while.

Some of our infamous birds! Photo by Bill Colley.
Stuffed animals from the high desert are on display. Photo by Bill Colley.
We remember the native culture. Photo by Bill Colley.

Keep the museum doors open

The museum is soliciting donations. You can help by clicking here. If you like the story, this is a good way to show your appreciation. Financial planners will also tell you that charitable contributions at the end of the year can help with tax time.

It is a story that deserves to be preserved. As the area becomes more and more populated with new real estate developments (a new town is planned between Boise and Mountain Home), we will lose some of the past. The High Desert Museum is a keeper of the flame.

The leaders of a bygone era. Photo by Bill Colley.
War on horseback and in armor. Photo by Bill Colley.
No internet connection, no TV and a little drafty when the wind blows. Photo by Bill Colley.
One of the first green means of transport. Photo by Bill Colley.
More modern travel. Photo by Bill Colley.

RANKED: Here are the most popular national parks

To determine the most popular national parks in the United States, Stacker compiled data from the National Park Service on the number of recreational visits to each site in 2020. Keep reading to find out about the 50 most popular national parks in the United States. , in reverse order. from # 50 to # 1. And be sure to check with each park before your visit to learn more about safety precautions related to the ongoing pandemic at

WATCH: This is the richest city in every state

Just saying the names of these towns immediately conjures up images of grand mansions, fancy cars, and fancy restaurants. Read on to see which city in your home state received the title of richest location and which place had the highest median income in the country. Who knows, your hometown might even be on this list.

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Salt lake city

Hackett: If Real Salt Lake don’t hire Mastroeni, another club will

SALT LAKE CITY – Real Salt Lake interim manager Pablo Mastroeni has ensured a lot of safety after November.

Mastroeni and Real Salt Lake overcame the odds, once again, beating Sporting Kansas City at Children’s Mercy Park to meet the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference Finals. The club have no owner, are run by an interim manager and only reached the qualifiers after a Damir Kreilach goal at the last second on decision day. for the MLS Cup.

What Mastroeni was able to accomplish is simply remarkable.

Mastroeni started the 2021 MLS season as Freddy Juarez’s first assistant. Since then he has taken full control of the Real Salt Lake dressing room, instilled a sense of trust within the playgroup and guided a club that many so-called pundits say would end up at the bottom of the conference. at the beginning of the year until the final of the conference.

Real Salt Lake general manager Elliot Fall has yet to make a public decision on Real Salt Lake’s next manager. However, that decision becomes easier and easier to make as Real Salt Lake’s number of games are won.

Either way, if Real Salt Lake chooses to go in a different direction at the end of the year, Mastroeni has likely earned a managerial position elsewhere.

FC Dallas, LAFC, Vancouver Whitecaps, Houston Dynamo and FC Cincinnati are all currently without a full-time coach.

If Real Salt Lake doesn’t hire Mastroeni, one of the clubs listed above will.

Next match

Real Salt Lake will travel to Portland for the Western Conference final this Saturday, December 4, with kick-off scheduled for 4:30 p.m.

This will be the first conference final appearance for Real Salt Lake since 2013.

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Utah economy

Urban Utah is priceless. His voices deserve to be heard in Congress.

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Members of the public react to public comments in House Building, Room 30, November 8, 2021. The public was able to respond to the only public hearing of the Legislature’s Redistribution Committee on Monday. ‘Utah for the map proposals.

When the legislative redistribution committee presented its grotesque map, Rep. Paul Ray pontificated, “Rural Utah is the reason there is food, water and energy in urban areas of the state.

Agriculture makes up only 2% of Utah’s economy. (Utah Department of Agriculture and Food)

Rural areas cannot take credit for the Colorado River, boasting the poisonous coal that uses over 80% of our water while exporting 27% of their hay.

My urban area offers:

• A world-class research university

• Hospitals with the most advanced treatments available

• Eminent medical specialists

• Shelters for the homeless who migrate here to seek help

• Hundreds of millions of tax revenues

• Innovative companies offering jobs to children in rural areas

• Installations of trucks and trains (with their pollution, noise and traffic) to transport rural goods to foreign markets

• Various shopping opportunities

• A symphony orchestra, an extraordinary theater and museums

• Professional basketball, hockey, baseball and soccer teams.

• Professional ballet and modern dance companies

• An international airport

• Jobs for thousands of commuters

• Polluting refineries providing rural energy

• Wasatch Mountain Recreation

• Arenas large enough to attract world famous celebrities

And last but not least, my urban area offers diversity.

It offers neighborhoods where people of all colors, ages, genders, religions, ethnicities, languages, skills, political parties and opinions can find friendship and acceptance.

We offer the diversity and tolerance that rural children cannot find anywhere else. Our voices deserve to be heard in Congress.

Anne Florence, Murray

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Salt lake city government

28% of unvaccinated Americans would consider lying about their status to keep a job, survey finds

The survey, conducted by Qualtrics, also found that 32% of those polled had ignored signs that specifically required unvaccinated people to wear a mask when visiting a store or business. (Getty Images)

(NEXSTAR) – Is there any chance they’ll be willing to take a dose of Truth Serum instead?

More than a quarter of unvaccinated workers in the United States (28%) said they would consider lying about their immunization status – and perhaps falsifying a document or two – in order to keep jobs, survey finds conducted among more than 1,300 vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans. .

The survey, conducted by Qualtrics, an experience management software company, also found that about the same percentage (25%) of adults – vaccinated or unvaccinated – know someone who “lied or would lie ”about being vaccinated for travel. , eat out or attend other types of activities or events in person.

The results come amid pressure from the Biden administration to require companies with 100 or more employees to comply with OSHA emergency standards and ensure their workers are either vaccinated against COVID-19 , or comply with the weekly test mandates. The warrant was temporarily blocked days after its announcement, although the Biden administration asked a court to restore the rule.

Meanwhile, only 23% of unvaccinated respondents to Qualtrics’ survey said they would be more willing to get vaccinated because of federal warrants, while 52% said they would be less willing if they were mandated to do so. (It should be noted that the Qualtrics investigation was conducted in mid-October – after President Biden introduced the new requirements, but before they were officially announced by the White House.)

Among other survey results, Qualtrics found that 39% of the unvaccinated cited distrust of the government for not getting the jab. Others said they worried about possible side effects (38%), wanted more information (20%), already had COVID (16%), or said they knew someone who had an adverse reaction (15%).

According to the survey, nearly a third of unvaccinated participants (32%) also revealed that they had ignored signs that specifically required unvaccinated people to wear a mask when going to a hospital. store or business.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly touted the safety and effectiveness of approved COVID-19 vaccines and has determined that serious health problems resulting from vaccination are rare.

“These vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety surveillance in US history,” the CDC said on its website.

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Salt lake city

Omicron COVID variant will reach Utah sooner or later, researchers believe

Kimberly Desmond, a registered nurse, draws a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe in Salt Lake City on September 22. Researchers said on Friday they believed the omicron variant would reach Utah sooner or later. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 1-2 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah health officials say they are closely monitoring the new variant of COVID-19 coming from South Africa, but how worried should we be in the state of? hive? Researchers say it’s likely to happen in Utah, the real question is when.

Officials at the World Health Organization classify the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus in the same category as the highly contagious delta variant. And they believe the newer form of the virus is highly transmissible. However, University of Utah virologist Dr Stephen Goldstein says scientists still have a lot of questions about the omicron, especially since it is so new. For example, they don’t know if the new variant is deadlier than the others.

“We don’t know anything about whether it causes more serious or less serious disease. There are early indications that it can be highly transmissible, although it is really still too early to tell,” he said. he declares.

Goldstein says the omicron is not an offshoot of the delta variant, so researchers are trying to learn as much as they can. He believes the variant will eventually arrive in Utah, but no one knows when.

Should we cancel Christmas plans? Maybe not yet, although doctors still recommend masks, limiting crowd sizes and social distancing to limit any kind of viral spread.

Read the full article on

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Utah economy

‘Shop Small Crawl’, Other Events Encourage Utah Residents to Shop Local During Decisive Holiday Season

Shop Small Crawl and other events promote local shopping this weekend.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City Winter Market at The Gateway on Saturday, November 14, 2020. Small businesses in Utah rely on community members to shop this weekend and all. throughout the holiday season. .

Small businesses in Utah rely on community members to shop this weekend and throughout the holiday season, according to the owners.

“Every dollar you spend on a locally owned independent business stays here in our community – 55% of that dollar stays in our community,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said this week. “That is compared to just 13% you spend at any big box store. “

If you shop locally on Saturday, you can even win $ 500 in spending money – a prize that Local First Utah is promoting ahead of its “Shop Small Crawl” that day, featuring dozens of local businesses.

“You keep more money in our economy, you increase the prosperity of Utahns of all types and you celebrate what it feels like to be in a place with friends and neighbors, which we have been missing,” he said. said the executive director of Local First Utah. Kristen Lavolette said this week she goes shopping small.

On Saturdays, crawl buyers, whether online or in person, can scan a QR code to enter the contest. For a list of participating businesses, visit

Personalized recommendations

A term first coined by American Express in 2010, “Small Business Saturday” encourages shoppers to buy local after Black Friday, which injects billions of dollars into the economy, primarily for the benefit of national and international retailers.

“Retailers like us operate at a loss for much of the year,” Matt Caputo of Caputo’s Market and Deli said this week. “Having a very busy vacation period is really where we take a big part of it. “

Buying local doesn’t necessarily mean ignoring large online retailers and big box stores, Caputo said. But he encouraged residents to spend time browsing local business districts, where Mendenhall said small business owners and employees can offer personalized recommendations that outperform most “25 best gifts” lists.

King’s English Bookstore, for example, prides itself on finding the perfect match for every guest reader.

“There could be a lot of books that are on containers somewhere in the ocean,” said Anne Holman of The King’s English. “But I promise we have a lot more books in the store than you will find and love.”

Holiday markets

The Shop Small Crawl isn’t the only way to find unique gifts this weekend and throughout the holiday season: Wheeler Holiday Market, 6351 S. 900 East, opened in Murray for its weekend. end of annual shopping with more than 30 sellers.

At the Bountiful Davis Art Center, located at 90 N. Main St., vendors from across the state will be selling handmade products Tuesday through Saturday through December 23.

The Neighborhood Hive Small Business pop-up also features a variety of vendors at 2065 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, every Saturday of the holiday season from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

And the seasonal Winter Farmers Market has recently started at The Gateway, located at 400 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City. It operates from Saturday to April from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Salt lake city government

Scientists strive to understand the record of mine-related contamination in sediments under Lake Powell

The first data from a 2018 research project is now published.

(Jerry McBride | The Durango Herald via AP) In this file photo from Thursday, August 6, 2015, people kayak in the Animas River near Durango, Colo. In water colored yellow by a garbage spill mining. A team overseen by the US Environmental Protection Agency has been accused of causing the spill as it attempted to clean up the area near the abandoned Gold King mine. Tribal officials in the Navajo Nation declared a state of emergency on Monday, August 10, as the massive plume of contaminated sewage flowed down the San Juan River to Lake Powell in Utah, which provides a much of the water to the southwest.

The 2015 Durango Herald photograph was instantly recognized as the scene of an environmental disaster: three kayakers paddling the Animas River in southwest Colorado, the water below them as orange and radiant as a Creamsicle.

A containment pond near Silverton, Colo., Was accidentally drilled at the Gold King mine and 3 million gallons of metal-laden sludge was released into the Animas, flowing downstream into the San Juan River.

The river cleared again within days, but much of the heavy metals and other pollutants released from the spill made their way downstream until they hit Lake Powell, along with all of the other sediments that had been transported downstream by the Colorado River and its tributaries since the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam in 1963.

“Lake Powell is the integrator of the entire upper Colorado River basin,” said Scott Hynek, a hydrologist for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at the Utah Water Science Center. “Once they closed that dam, whatever went through there that was sediment stayed. “

[Related: As Lake Powell shrinks, the Colorado River is coming back to life]

The federal government, which oversaw the cleanup of the Gold King mine when the accident occurred, then paid hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements to affected areas of Utah, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation. . He also earmarked funding for the USGS to study sediment samples in Lake Powell, a project led by Hynek in late 2018.

A rotating crew of 20 to 30 people spent more than a month on the reservoir in what Hynek describes as a “kind of floating city” consisting of two to three barges, a barge pusher, a platform. form of a well, a working laboratory and an office. 24 hours a day. The USGS team partnered with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, and the United States National Park Service to extract 30 cores from the beds of the San Juan and Colorado rivers.

(USGS) Drill rig used to collect sediment samples on Lake Powell in 2018.

The objective was to understand not only the potential impacts of the Gold King mine disaster, but also to analyze the record of sediment trapped in the upper part of Lake Powell and 50 feet thick in places.

Initial data collected on the project has just been released and Hynek made a public presentation on the preliminary results earlier this month. He hopes the project will be useful to scientists working across the river basin on a variety of projects. The sediment recording, he explained, “is like the ultimate ground truth about what happened in the upper Colorado River basin on a massive scale over 70 years.”

Core samples taken from the San Juan arm of the reservoir show spikes of lead and zinc that may have been deposited by the Gold King mine spill in 2015, but there are much larger – and more concerning – spikes in the metals. which were likely deposited in the 1970s, when larger mine waste disasters occurred in the watershed.

“More important things happened in the ’70s in San Juan than the Gold King,” Hynek said.

(USGS) Scott Hynek, hydrologist at the Utah Water Science Center, presents preliminary results from the Lake Powell coring project on November 1, 2021.

The San Juan and its tributaries have a long history of hard rock mining, and copper and lead concentrations are higher in sediment cores from the San Juan River than those collected from the Colorado River arm. The Colorado side had a more active history of uranium mining and processing, including near Moab, and the core showed higher concentrations of uranium in the Colorado River Arm.

But some of the metal peaks found in the silt from the reservoir aren’t necessarily related to historic mining. The San Juan River, for example, has seen an increase in lead concentrations after monsoon rains fell on burn scars from wildfires.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The so-called Dominy Formation, clearly illustrated by high walls of sediment in Waterhole Canyon, one of the tributaries of the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon, is studied by a team of scientists during ‘a recent trip as part of the Returning Rivers project. The informal term is named after the controversial former Bureau of Reclamation commissioner, Floyd Dominy, who was the main architect of Lake Powell and many other Western dam projects.

Hynek pointed out that the project’s data is only being analyzed now and that much more detailed reports are expected to be released over the next 18 months with more raw data, which he hopes will be used by university professors for a number of research projects. .

“We have a chance to provide a better view of history now than first-hand recordings [from the time]”Hynek said.

Zak Podmore is a Report for America corps member and writes about conflict and change in San Juan County for the Salt Lake Tribune. Your matching donation to our RFA grant helps her continue to write stories like this; please consider making a tax deductible donation of any amount today by clicking here.

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