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WARM SPRINGS CREEK GEOTHERMAL STUDY, BLAIN COUNTY IDAHO, 1987
In the Warm Springs Creek drainage near Ketchum, Idaho (17040219), a leaking pipeline coveys geothermal water through the valley to heat nearby homes as well as to supply a resorts swimming pool. Several domestic wells in close proximity to this line have exhibited increasing fluoride levels since 1979. Developers have proposed constructing various types of resort facilities near the main geothermal source, Guyer Hot Springs. Disposal of the waste geothermal water has not been addressed, but discharge to nearby surface waters will likely be proposed. During 1987, groundwater and surface water studies were conducted for the following purposes: to characterize the valley aquifer and groundwater flows, to assess background fluoride levels, to assess sources of fluoride to the aquifer, to determine the effect of pipeline leaks on groundwater and domestic well contamination, to assess water quality impacts due to existing geothermal discharges, and to evaluate potential impacts from proposed geothermal developments. Warm Springs Creek, Trial Creek, and the Big Woods River were included in this research. Groundwater monitoring documented fluoride levels in excess of the current state maximum contaminant level at several public and private wells. Surface water data indicate that fluoride levels in the Big Wood River, Trail Creek, and Warm Springs Creek all increase in the Ketchum area as a result of geothermal water accrual. Recreational developments will likely propose geothermal wastewater discharges from existing and developed sources to Warm Springs Creek. Existing spring temperatures suggest that increased geothermal discharges to the creek may impact salmonid spawning. Burkett, G.R. and R.T. Litke. 1989. Water Quality Status Report No. 84. Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, Division of Environmental Quality, Boise, ID. 76 pp.