Jump to content
OzarkAnglers.Com Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Smalliebigs

Big River bummer

Recommended Posts

I had the pleasure of taking my daughter and Three of her friends to my dad's place at Terre Du Lac by myself as my wife was pulling 12 to 14 hour shifts at the hospital Saturday and Sunday and on call.

I took all Four 7 year old girls to Mill Creek where we have a small parcel. Wow!!!! What a workout that was but, some great memories were made I'm sure. I took them back to my dad's place to let him BBQ for them and he let me take a solo canoe over to the Big for a few. The fishing was okay and the river was quite low and I don't take fishing pics anymore so I have nothing there.

I floated down from a public access that is located in a small and crappy town on the Big. I notice a large pipe coming strait up out of the river like a fountain in the first decent hole down stream . The water was shooting strait up in the air and a decent flow....it didn't smell that great and the amount of green algae in that area in the water was startling.

I find it hard to believe that the town of Leadwood or a landowner would be allowed to just pump water into the river like that.....I am probably making something out of nothing but, you bet I reported it.....seemed weird to me.

Al Agnew I was wondering if you have ever witnessed this pipe and what the deal is???


This post has been promoted to an article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you float anywhere between Leadwood and Desloge, you'll come upon a number of those pipes.  What they are is drill pipes associated with the old lead mines.  The best info I got was that they were exploratory drilling for the original mines that underlay the river, but I'm not sure that's correct.  At any rate, they have been there all my life (and you know how old I am!).  

Back in the old days when the mines were still operating, ground water continually seeped (or gushed) into the mines, and had to be pumped out constantly.  Every mine had an outlet or two for the water being pumped out, and along that stretch of Big River, one of the outlets emerged from what looked like a natural cave just upstream from Terre du Lac, and another came out in the bottom at what was then called Leadwood Beach, just upstream from the old railroad trestle tower downstream from Terre du Lac.  At that time, those pipes, some of them in the river itself and others in the bottoms very near the river, were all capped, and were unnoticeable except that you could run a canoe into one when you were night fishing!  Also at that time, the old springs that used to feed the river through that area had all dried up, because the water that used to feed them was instead draining into the mines, and then being pumped out into the river through those outlets.

When the mines shut down in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the mining company not only stopped pumping the water out of the mines, but also abandoned most of the machinery they had down in the mines.  The mines began to fill up.  Throughout the 1970s, because the water was no longer being pumped out of the mines into the river and still wasn't coming out the old spring outlets, the river was significantly lower in the summer than it had been before.  In typical low summertime flows, the river was probably flowing only about 2/3rd the volume it had flowed during the mining years.  But eventually the mines completely filled with water.  By that time, the old metal caps on those drill pipes had pretty much rusted away, and the pipes themselves were pretty well rusted as well.  There was so much water filling the mines that it began to gush out of those pipes.  The old spring outlets never really began flowing water again, but the ground water coming out of those pipes became enough to bring the summertime flows of the river back at least partway to what it had flowed during the mining years when the water was being pumped out of the mines.

Now, off the top of my head, I can think of one pipe a mile or so below Terre du Lac that flows water most of the time, one a short distance below Leadwood Access, one about halfway between Leadwood and the Bone Hole Access, one just above Bone Hole, one at the lower end of the pool below Bone Hole, and a big one that gushes a LOT of water about a mile below Bone Hole.  I might be missing a few...I'm pretty sure there are (or were) a few more in that stretch.

Are they causing problems?  The water, being groundwater, is always clear.  But that old machinery left in the mines is slowly rusting and corroding, and probably has leaked a lot of oil and other fluids over the years.  Often, the water coming out is clear, but if it comes out over a bank and into the river, the bank is stained orange red where it runs, so it can't be all that great.  In addition, it has to be carrying a lot of dissolved heavy metals--lead, cadmium, and zinc being the most notable contaminants from the lead mining activity--so that can't be good, either.  However, since it's been happening for almost 40 years and hasn't wiped out the river yet, it's probably fairly benign except as a contributing factor in the heavy metal contamination of the river, which makes eating a lot of suckers and other bottom feeding fish out of the river not a smart thing to do. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, after thinking about it for a bit, I think it's possible that with all the rain we've had this year, there has been some contamination of the groundwater in the mines from runoff draining into the underground conduits off agricultural and suburban land.  It's possible that there are now too much nutrients in the groundwater, and when it emerges into the river, it's causing some excess algae growth.  I've never noticed a lot of algae growth around the pipes before, except for whatever that orange-red crap is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe those are dewatering pipes for the mines. Al is correct.  When the mine is abandoned they quit operations and the mine fills back up forcing water out the dewatering pipes.  I've sold a lot of dewatering pipe around the country, most of it in Montana and Wyoming unfortunately.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Al Agnew said:

I've never noticed a lot of algae growth around the pipes before, except for whatever that orange-red crap is.

I had always thought that the orange flocculent areas were patches of iron oxidizing bacteria.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.