What is in the Water?

The Arkansas River and Four Mile Creek run through Cañon City, as do several irrigation canals with their associated laterals and drainage channels. The river and creek support an abundant amount of life from fish, insects, frogs, to turtles. A variety of wildlife may be seen along the banks of the river including deer, skunks, raccoons and snakes. Good water quality is important both to humans and wildlife.

Report Concerns

Sometimes though we may see a difference in the color of the water or something else in the water that doesn’t seem natural, it is. Some common examples are shown below. If you see something though that you believe is impacting our water quality please contact the Cañon City Stormwater Program at 719-276-5265 or 719-240-5325 or make a report online via SeeClickFix.


Natural Versus Man-Made Foam

What's in the Water? (JPG)

What's in the Water? (JPG)

Natural Foam

  • Natural foam can be seen in eddies, floating downstream or may be seen in the discharge from a pipe.
  • Natural foam can cover large areas and can accumulate in large amounts.
  • Natural foam can occur at many different locations, accumulating on or near the bank, or on other material in the waterway.
  • Natural foam increases after storm events as runoff transports decomposed plants to waterways.
  • Natural foam may white, light tan or brown and has an earthy, fishy or fresh cut grass odor.

Man-Made Foam

  • Foam from leaking sanitary sewer lines or septic tanks will have a foul odor.
  • Foam from man-made sources is usually not related to storm events.
  • Foam from man-made sources is usually white and fragrant (perfume smell).
  • Foam from man-made sources will accumulate near the source of the discharge.
  • Foam from most detergents is biodegradable and will quickly disappear.