Cleanup plans for the Three Child mine site near Lake Las Vegas are outlined

Las Vegas, Nev. (FOX5) – Nevada’s Department of Environmental Protection plans to clean up contamination from the Three Children’s Mine near Lake Las Vegas to open up thousands of homes. FOX5 met with an engineer on site to find out more.

“It’s not a superfund site, but we use the superfund process,” said Alan Pineda, a professional engineer for the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection. Pineda told the story of three children who worked at the mine from 1917 to 1961.

“The site has been mined for manganese ore, and so primary contaminants at the site include metals such as lead, arsenic, manganese,” Pineda said.

Since the mine closed more than 6 decades ago, Pineda explained that the cleanup has started and stopped several times, but federal legislation in 2014 is now opening the way.

“Current estimates for the cost are about $250 million … So far, the cleanup of the site has been taken up by private investors, and then some of the money from the sale of the land will also be used for parts of the cleanup … and the rest of the cleanup will come from property taxes are funded in the Lakemoor Canyon Development Area,” Pineda said. The Lakemoor Canyon Development Area is the name the Henderson City Redevelopment Agency uses to refer to the site.

Currently, about 850 acres are federally owned by the Bureau of Land Management, the rest is privately owned, but that will change.

“Those federal lands are being transferred to a private developer through the 2014 Act through the city of Henderson,” Pineda said. About 400 hectares were damaged by previous mining. Extensive research has already been done on the site and cleanup plans. Reforms will begin soon.

“We’re just a few months away from that happening,” Pineda said. For neighbors who are concerned, Pineda claims the cleanup will be done safely.

“You’re in good hands, the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection is the lead agency overseeing the cleanup, and we have to make sure that all standards are met, including federal, state and local … There will be soil. Control measures, as well air monitoring on site,” Pineda suggested.

Cleaning begins in stages, which is above.

“The first thing that’s going to happen is to clean up the debris that you see on the ground, including the asbestos, which will all be taken to the landfill,” Pineda told FOX5.

Other mining materials return to where they originally came from.

“We’re going to take that mine waste, including the tailings, the waste rock and the disturbed soil, and they’re going to go into the open pits,” Pineda said. Then it’s all covered.

“We’re going to get 10 feet of clean soil and cover 400 acres of the damaged mine,” Pineda said.

Adding 10 feet of soil on top of the reclaimed site is something NDEP has done before. It happened on Mina’s Three Children Street in what is now Cadence.

A concerned neighbor lives near Lake Las Vegas and is holding a community meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Lake Las Vegas Sports Club. Anyone can participate.

The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection’s 30-day public comment period on the preferred cleanup plan ended Saturday, but they say they’re still happy to hear from the public. You can learn more about the Three Kids Mine site project here: https://ndep.nv.gov/environmental-cleanup/black-mountain-industrial-bmi-complex/three-kids-mine

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