The temporary treatment plant will be removed next year
Water officials and environmental regulators gathered on Jan. 4, 2018 to commemorate the opening of a temporary wastewater treatment plant at the Las Vegas Wash designed to keep pollution from Lake Mead and the Colorado River.
Specifically, the temporary setup will attempt to stop pollution originating from an industrial site in Henderson, Nev. from spilling into the Las Vegas Wash and eventually flowing downstream into Lake Mead. The plant is expected to run around 18 months in duration and to move up to 3 tons of hazardous groundwater pumped from the industrial site containing the perchlorate, a chemical commonly found in rocket fuel.
The construction of the temporary site cost between $18 to $25 million, according to JoAnn Kittrell, spokeswoman for the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. Instead of utilizing taxpayer money to pay for the build, the site was paid for from the $1.1 billion federal settlement reached in 2014 from the company owners responsible for the contaminant.
Perchlorate has yet to be definitely categorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), so the levels of consumption safe for human health are as of yet unknown.
The site will be returned to its natural state some time next year after all the proper treatment has been achieved.