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BLM California News.bytes 
News.bytes Extra, Issue 601

Desert Cleanup - Bellflower Mine

In 2013, the BLM’s California Desert District (CDD) received directed one-time funds for a solid waste cleanup at the Bellflower Mine. The project resulted in over 300 yards of solid waste removed from the site in early November. 

According to Sterling White, Abandoned Mines and Hazmat Program Specialist, CDD, the mine site is located several miles outside of Ridgecrest and is a popular area to visit. 

A tractor loads trash into a large container at the Bellflower mine. Photo by Sterling White, BLM. 
Trash is loaded into a container at the Bellflower mine.
(Photo by Sterling White/BLM)

“To maximize the efficiency of the funds we joined forces with the United States Forest Service Force Account / Abandoned Mine Lands crew from Lake Tahoe,” stated White. “The crew superintendent, Mary Rosellen, provided a self-sufficient workforce equipped with light and heavy duty equipment.”

A US Forest Service work crew poses for a photo during the mine cleanup project. BLM photo
Group photo of the US Forest Service Abandoned Mine Land Remediation Crew from Lake Tahoe. (Photo by Sterling White, BLM)

A high percentage of these types of cleanups are a result of illegal dumping. It is also referred to as "open dumping," "fly dumping," and "midnight dumping" because materials are often dumped in open areas, from vehicles along roadsides, and late at night. Illegally dumped wastes are primarily nonhazardous materials that are dumped to avoid either disposal fees or the time and effort required for proper disposal. These materials typically include:
  • construction and demolition waste such as drywall, roofing shingles, lumber, bricks, concrete, and siding,
  • abandoned automobiles, auto parts, and scrap tires,
  • appliances or "white goods,"
  • furniture,
  • yard waste,
  • household trash.

A work crew rakes and shovels trash and debris in an effort to clean the Bellflower Mine site. Photo by Sterling White, BLM.
Raking and shoveling is used to clean the Bellflower Mine site from trash and debris. 
(Photo by Sterling White/BLM)

In 2012 BLM removed approximately 10 tons of solid waste, 1 boat, and 30-yards of contaminated oil soaked soil from public lands in the Ridgecrest resource area. 
Sterling states that illegal dumping is a problem in part due to the easy accessibility of open areas. There are also numerous negative impacts illegal dumping causes such as:
  • liquid spills contaminating soils,
  • harm to wildlife,
  • degradation of the view shed,
  • tourism suffers if public lands are trashed,
  • injury to people, especially children, who are vulnerable to protruding nails or sharp edges. 
“We plan to continue desert cleanup operations well into 2014 and beyond however the public can be of great assistance by reporting any illegal dumping,” says White. “If you see anyone dumping trash on public lands, BLM encourages you to write down a license number, a description of the vehicle, the date, time and location, and report this information to the nearest BLM Field Office.”

-- Sterling White, Abandoned Mines and Hazmat Program Specialist, Ridgecrest Field Office (November 2013)

BLM California
News.bytes, issue 601-- To subscribe to News.bytes, send an e-mail to: mailto:Join-Newsbytes@List.ca.blm.gov OR visit our News.bytes subscription page.

Last updated: 11-20-2013