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Active and abandoned mines may present health risks, especially to children, from environmental exposure to airborne chemical elements, such as Pb, As, and Mn. X-ray fluorescence analysis of tailings at the Three Kids Mine show they contain high levels of: Pb (15,300 mg/kg), As (3690 mg/kg), and Mn (153,000 mg/kg). Soil was sampled along eight transects, radiating from the dried tailings ponds. Concentrations of Mn and Pb to the NE are at background concentrations at 4.8 km, and, As and Sr at 3.2 km from the mine. Going SW to the City of Henderson, all elements are at background at 1.6 cm, with the closest houses at 1.8 km. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Regional Screening Levels (RSLs) are exceeded for Pb, As and Mn at 0.8 km on all transects except one. The RSLs are exceeded for Pb, As and Mn on the NE transects at 1.6 km. Future home sites are on a NE transect between 0.4 km and 2.3 km downwind from the tailings ponds, in an area highly impacted by tailings which exceed the USEPA RSLs. This research demonstrates that there has been the farthest transport of tailings offsite by the prevailing winds to the NE; the closest currently-built homes have not received measurable tailings dust because they are upwind; and that precautions must be taken during the proposed remediation of the mine to restrict dust-transport of Pb, As, and Mn to avoid human exposure and ecological damage.
Abandoned manganese mine; Tailings; X-ray fluorescence; Lead; Arsenic; Manganese; Strontium; EPA-RSL; Transport
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Park, J. H.,
Mobilization of Toxic Elements from an Abandoned Manganese Mine in the Arid Metropolitan Las Vegas (NV, USA) Area.
Applied Sciences, 4(2),