News Release

For Release:  January 15, 2008                                                         
Contact:  Stephen Razo 951-697-5217; email:

Elevated Arsenic Levels Discovered at Historic Mine Site in the Rosamond District, Kern County, California

A preliminary environmental assessment of the Tropico Mine/mill tailings site located in Kern County has determined that elevated levels of arsenic are present in the mill tailings. The mill tailings site is within ¼ mile of residences and ½ mile from an elementary school, which poses a potential health hazard to residents and students.
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 (CERCLA) evaluation process. The site is within the Western Mojave urban interface region, which is characterized with rapid population growth and residential subdivision expansion. 

According to BLM officials, the main area of mill tailings are derived from the adjacent patented Tropico Mine but, the tailings have encroached on BLM managed lands.  “Public safety is our primary concern,” states Hector Villalobos, BLM Ridgecrest Field Office manager. “We are currently assessing the potential risks to the general public and are initiating actions in accordance with department regulations to expedite appropriate actions.”

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. Active commercial mining ceased at the Tropico Mine site in 1956.

BLM's Ridgecrest Field Office and the California State Office will coordinate and cooperate closely with EPA, the California Department of Toxic Substance Control and other appropriate federal, state and local regulatory agencies. 

For further information contact: Hector Villalobos, BLM Ridgecrest Field Office, 760-384-5400. 


California Desert District Office – 22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553- (951) 697-5217