Water aplenty at local mine

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat /

The site where the Harvard Mine once operated in Jamestown has a problem that's unique to the Mother Lode right now - too much water.

The 500-foot-deep lake created by the mine's open pit off Highway 108 continues to rise, and property managers are trying stop it.

A multi-year drought has led to major water restrictions in Tuolumne County, and many might see a mutually beneficial solution. But the contaminated water in the pit isn't fit for consumption, so managers of a trust set up to clean up the site are literally making the water disappear into thin air.

Right now, three machines are set up at the pit to evaporate the water by blowing it into the air as mist. According to Mark Adams, a trustee with Jamestown Trusts, as much as 300 gallons a minute is being evaporated during peak summer hours.

So far, it appears to be working. Adams said the water level has been dropping, though it's too early to tell if this is a permanent solution.

"The jury is still out," he said. "It is down from where it was this winter."

The mine water problem is ironic given historic drought conditions throughout the Mother Lode.

For the full story, see the July 8, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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