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Arsenic and Lead Contamination in Wash Sediments at Historic Three Kids Mine - Henderson, Nevada: The Environmental Hazards Associated with Historic Mining Sites and Their Possible Impact on Water Quality

Douglas B. Sims and Brett C. Bottenberg
Journal of the Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science
Vol. 40, No. 1 (2008), pp. 16-19
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27641768
Page Count: 4
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Arsenic and Lead Contamination in Wash Sediments at Historic Three Kids Mine - Henderson, Nevada: The Environmental Hazards Associated with Historic Mining Sites and Their Possible Impact on Water Quality
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Abstract

This study focuses on the distribution of arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) in surface sediments at Three Kids Mine located in Henderson, Nevada. The mine is comprised of approximately 470 acres of desert and is situated above the large development of Lake Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Valleys water supply, Lake Mead. Transport of arsenic and lead appears to have occurred within a limited range in both the eastern and western washes of Three Kids Mine. Concentrations of arsenic and lead range between 200 ppm and 1130 ppm and 20 ppm and 8400 ppm, respectfully, in soils collected from washes at Three Kids Mine. Samples collected from the north side of the site indicate a mixing of the natural soils which are low in arsenic and lead with milling waste from historic mining practices, which are higher in arsenic and lead concentrations. The migration of arsenic and lead apparently resulted from the transport of sediments containing these contaminants down gradient in surface runoff during storm events. Adsorption of arsenic and lead onto the surface of soil particles is postulated to be the major source of transport during wet periods for this site. As a result, transport of arsenic and lead from historic Three Kids Mine could possibly pose a threat to Lake Las Vegas and Lake Mead if a catastrophic storm event or repeated storm events were to occur within a short period of time.

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