Are magnesium chloride and sand affecting our water quality?
Pitkin County and towns within the county use both magnesium chloride and sand for snow removal and dust suppression. Pitkin County continues to pursue the use of the most effective and least harmful methods of dust suppression and deicing.

The fact is both of these applications can degrade water quality to some degree. Sand can cause sedimentation of streams and rivers, decreasing oxygen in the water and in some cases can create cementation, a process in which sand gets "cemented" between larger rocks and solidifies the bottoms of our streams and rivers. This can destroy fish spawning and feeding areas and, in turn, also destroy the recreational quality of our waters.

In terms of wildlife (aquatic life) there is no state standard for magnesium chloride in our rivers. There are, however, standards for public drinking water supplies. The Roaring Fork Conservancy has sampled many points throughout the county and has never found levels of magnesium or chloride that exceed the limits set on our public drinking water.

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1. What is a watershed?
2. Why is the Roaring Fork River dry?
3. Who do I call if I think someone is illegally diverting water?
4. Can I truck water to my site if I don't have a well?
5. Where can I obtain information about my well?
6. How do I apply for a well permit?
7. Is well water safe?
8. Who can test my well or spring water?
9. What if I want to harvest rainwater for household use?
10. Are magnesium chloride and sand affecting our water quality?
11. There is a ditch on my property. Can I use the water in it?
12. Can I use the water coming from a below-ground spring on my property?
13. How can I get water rights?
14. Why is the river foaming, red or brown?
15. Who do I call if I saw someone dumping something down a storm sewer?
16. I saw someone running equipment in a stream or digging in a stream bank. Is that OK?
17. Can I move the ditch on my property?
18. Whom do I call about a broken or overflowing ditch?
19. How do I find out who owns the ditch on my property?