The site of a Mohave County storage yard will soon be abandoned, and a water pump at the location could be overtaken by a Yucca ranching company – if they don’t mind the toxic waste.

According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the area known as Mindy Mill contains high levels of lead and arsenic. The county has been permitted to use the land since 2004, but the BLM has recently ordered Mohave County to remove equipment from the location due to the potential for harmful exposure to these materials by county workers. Despite those materials, however, Yucca’s Cavalliere Ranch Company is working to acquire a well on the property.

The 10-foot-wide, 1,000-foot-deep well contains a county-installed pump, motor, tubing and electrical cables. According to Mohave County Public Works Director Steven Latowski, removing those components would cost as much as $10,000. Transferring ownership of the well could be a cost-saving measure, Latowski says, and Cavalliere Ranch Company is willing to assume the risk.

“We would be held harmless,” Latowski said. “The rancher will do his due diligence to use his best judgment for what he deems safe. The county has been very forthcoming with the rancher and the BLM as far as the (hazardous) materials present.”

Latowski said this week that he does not know why the area of Mindy Mills contains unsafe concentrations of lead and arsenic. Water from the well has been used for road maintenance by the county under a permit that expired in 2009, and saw continued use by the county under an erroneous “free use” permit, according to BLM officials.

Today, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to approve the transfer of ownership over the well’s pump and piping to Cavalliere Ranch Company, at its meeting in Kingman. The issue is a consent agenda item, which means a decision could be made without discussion by board members.

Attempts to contact Cavalliere Ranch Company and the BLM’s Kingman field office were unsuccessful as of Friday morning.

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