Corrosion and heavy rainfall caused a dangerous explosion at a closed radioactive dump in Nevada. In other news, the BLM released its draft environmental impact statement for a proposed mine project in New Mexico, and awards abound for Arizona projects and executives.
Rainwater Caused Explosion at Radioactive Dump in Nevada
Nevada Fire Marshal Peter Mulvihill confirmed that rainwater caused a recent explosion at a closed radioactive dump located 110 miles northwest of Las Vegas, reports Associated Press’ Ken Ritter. Water from unusually heavy rains in the area caused the explosion when it came into contact with metallic sodium buried in corroded containers filled oil.
The corroded drums were over 40 years old and contained materials buried between 1969 and 1973. The now-closed dump opened in 1962, Ritter reports.
Officials did not detect any radioactivity following the explosion and there are no reported injuries, says Mulvihill. Several agencies are now investigating the site, including the Energy Department and Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Desert Research Institute of the University of Nevada, and the state Division of Environmental Protection.
"The state of Nevada is responsible for this site," Mulvihill said. "We're accepting responsibility for being good stewards over the long haul."
BLM Releases Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Copper Flat Mine Project
The Bureau of Land Management has released a draft environmental impact statement for THEMAC’ proposed Copper Flat Mine project. THEMAC is seeking to reopen the closed mine in Sierra County, New Mexico to produce copper, gold, silver, and molybdenum.
The BLM draft statement evaluates the potential environmental impact of THEMAC’s plan and two alternative plans. It also looked environmental studies addressing potential effects on air quality, climate, geologic setting, groundwater, soils, surface water, vegetation and wildlife.
If the Copper Flat Mine re-opens, it could create 250 to 275 direct jobs in addition to 1,300 indirect and induced jobs, according to THEMAC. It could also generate $53 million in tax revenue for the state of New Mexico.
The Council of Development Finance Agencies Honors Arizona Executive
The Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA) awarded its Excellence Award for Leadership to Juan Salgado, executive director of the Phoenix IDA. Throughout his career, Salgado has focused on bringing jobs, affordable housing and development to traditionally underserved communities.
“Each year, the CDFA is proud to honor excellence in development finance. The work of our award winners is cutting-edge, innovative and an example of best practices in our industry,” said Toby Rittner, CDFA President & CEO.
Over the past three years under Salgado’s guidance, Phoenix IDA has increased revenue by $2 million annually. Additionally, the company has doubled its fund balance and issued over $1.5 billion in bonds for education, waste management, housing, healthcare and manufacturing since 2009.
The CDFA also honored the Industrial Development Authority of Pima County with its Excellence Award for Agency and gave the Excellence Award for Project to Arizona’s Water Infrastructure Finance Authority.
Southern Arizona Project Receives Local and State Awards
The Palominas Flood Protection and Groundwater Recharge completed by CEMEX and KE&G Construction recently received two awards from the Arizona Association of Counties. The project received the Judge’s Merit Award for Innovation of the Year from the local AAC chapter while the state chapter awarded the project the American Public Works Project of the Year in the Environment Category, Less Than $5 Million.
The San Pedro Recharge Network undertook the project to solve a sheet flow flooding problem at Palominas Elementary School in Cochise County, Ariz. The San Pedro Recharge Network is a partnership that includes Walton Foundation, Cochise County, Fort Huachuca, the Nature Conservancy and City of Sierra Vista.

CEMEX and KE&G constructed a large detention basin, wells and infiltration trenches. The trenches and wells store water during storms and increase the amount of water rechared into the San Pedro River. The new system captured around 12 million gallons of water during the 2014 monsoon season.

“No storm water made it out of the system. It was all detained and recharged into the ground, except for unmeasured, but minimal, evaporation losses,” said Dennis Donovan, Cochise County Civil Engineer.