BLM Logo
California Desert District
Release Date: 02/17/11
Contacts: David Briery , (951) 697-5220 or  
  Stephen Razo , (951) 697-5217  
News Release No. CDD-11-25

Contaminated Tailings Temporarily Close Route

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has temporarily closed BLM-designated route CM7602 near the Calico Historic Mining District northeast of Barstow, Calif. to protect public health and safety. 

BLM recently conducted an analysis of mill tailings along the road to determine if they contained toxic materials. According to BLM geologist Jamie Livingood, an independent laboratory using state testing procedures found concentrations of mercury ranging up to .79 milligrams per liter (mg/l). A test using federal testing procedures found concentrations of mercury in the tailings ranged up to 1.5 mg/l.  “Both testing procedures resulted in findings that exceed the allowable state and federal standard of 0.2 mg/l,” said Livingood.

The two-mile road, which traverses mill tailings left there by mining operations in the late 1800s and early 1900s, is used by off-road enthusiasts between Ghost Town Road and Calico Road.  Silver ore had been brought to mill sites there for crushing and processing to extract silver.  Livingood explained that other heavy metals in the rock were left behind as mill tailings.

“The BLM will now conduct an Environmental Evaluation and Cost Analysis (EE/CA) to assist in determining the preferred method for stabilizing the tailings,” said Livingood. “We must ensure that toxic materials do not migrate into the human and natural environments.  Once the EE/CA has been completed, the BLM will notify the public of future actions the BLM will take to stabilize the toxic materials,” he added.

For further information, please contact the Barstow Field Office at (760) 252-6000.


California Desert District   22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553  

Last updated: 02-17-2011