May 14, 2008
A preliminary environmental assessment of a mill tailings site just south of the San Bernardino County historic Calico Ghost Town Park has determined that elevated levels of arsenic are present and pose a potential public health hazard.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has initiated preliminary actions at the site to protect human health as part of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act evaluation process.
According to BLM officials, the mill tailings begin just north of Ghost Town Road and continue in a southerly direction towards Interstate 15. The mill tailings begin on non-public lands but have encroached onto BLM managed public lands to the south, as well private lands to the southwest that include a residential subdivision.
"Public safety is our primary concern," states Roxie Trost, BLM Barstow Field Office manager. "We are currently assessing the potential risks to the general public and are initiating appropriate actions in accordance with department regulations."
The BLM will be proactive with public information and guidance as further assessments determine potential impacts to public health, public land use, and environmental impact. The mine tailings are the result of extensive historic mining and milling operations during the 1880’s to early 1900’s period, when the mining district was world famous for its rich silver mines.
BLM had been actively involved in working with local historic mining communities to resolve similar environmental hazard issues in other regions of the Mojave Desert.
For further information contact: Stephen Razo, BLM California Desert District Office, 951-697-5217.