Clean up plans explained for site of Three Kids Mine site near Lake Las Vegas

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 10:54 AM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection has a plan to clean up the contamination at the Three Kids Mine site near Lake Las Vegas to make way for thousands of homes. FOX5 met with an engineer at the site to learn more.

“This is not a superfund site, but we are using the superfund process,” said Alan Pineda, a Professional Engineer with Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. Pineda shared the history of the Three Kids Mine which was operational from 1917 to 1961.

“Manganese ore was mined at this location and so the primary contaminants at the site include metals such as lead, arsenic, manganese,” Pineda explained.

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

“Current estimates for cost are about $250 million… So far, cleanup for the site has come from private investors, and after that some of the land sale money is going to be used for parts of the cleanup as well… and the rest of the cleanup will be funded by property taxes within the Lakemoor Canyon Development Area,” Pineda revealed. The Lakemoor Canyon Development Area is the name the City of Henderson Redevelopment Agency uses to refer to the site.

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

“Those federal lands through that 2014 Act are going to be transferred through the City of Henderson to a private developer,” Pineda stated. About 400 acres are impacted by previous mining. There’s already been an extensive investigation of the site and cleanup plans written. Remediation will begin soon.

“We are only a few months away from that happening,” Pineda reported. For neighbors who have concerns, Pineda contends the cleanup will be done safely.

“You’re in good hands, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection is the lead agency overseeing the cleanup and we are going to be the ones that make sure all standards are met including federal, state, and local… There is going to be dust control measures, as well as air monitoring at the site,” Pineda offered.

The cleanup will happen in phases starting with what’s on top.

“The first thing that is going to happen is cleanup of the debris you see at the surface including asbestos, that is all going to be taken to a landfill,” Pineda told FOX5.

Other mining materials will go back to where they originally came from.

“We are going to take those mine wastes including the tailings, the waste rock, and impacted soil and those are going to go into the open pits,” Pineda added. Then it will all be covered.

“We are going to take 10 feet of clean soil and cover the 400 acres of disturbed mine site,” Pineda stated.

Adding 10 feet of soil on top of a remediated site is something NDEP has done before. It happened just down the street from the Three Kids Mine site in what is now Cadence.

A concerned neighbor is nearby Lake Las Vegas and will be hosting a community meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. at Lake Las Vegas Sports Club. Anyone is welcome to attend.

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection’s 30-day public comment period on the preferred cleanup plan ended Saturday, but they say they are still happy to hear from the community. You can learn more on the Three Kids Mine site project here.