Saturday, March 2, 2013

Asarco Demolition Progressing Quickly; Stacks Come Down April 13

Aerial photos released by the Asarco property trustee show that significant progress has been made in the process of demolishing the property near UTEP. Slides presented at a February 26, 2013 community meeting by Project Navigator, Ltd., show that the majority of structures are gone and slag has been largely removed from an arroyo on the site.

The trustee has also announced that the two looming Asarco stacks will be knocked down on April 13, 2013, after sunrise. Both the 828' and 612' chimney columns will come down at the same time in an event involving pushing the stacks onto their sides like falling trees. Explosives will create a hole on one side of the base of each stack, like an ax creating a hole on one side of a tree, helping direct the columns into planned fall zones. Earthen berms and elevated mist systems will help reduce the spread of potentially harmful dust.

Interstate 10, which runs along the eastern edge of the primary site, will be closed 15 minutes before the blast and tentatively reopen as soon as 15 minutes afterward. Paisano Drive on the western edge will be closed to traffic three hours prior to demolition and could reopen one hour after the stacks fall. There will be no public viewing areas for the event, but local broadcasters are expected to carry it live on television.

The smokestack fall zones are surrounded by berms, highlighted in green.
Another important element to remediation of the site is the rehabilitation of the Parker Brothers Arroyo. The culvert directs much water underground as well as bringing water to the Rio Grande River from higher ground to the east. The project is minimizing groundwater absorption and replacing contaminated slag with soil.

Parker Brothers Arroyo.
All remediation projects on the Asarco site should be completed by 2015 at which time the property can be put up for bid. The Project Navigator team on the Asarco project is headed by Site Custodial Trustee Roberto Puga.

Asarco Smokestack Demolition Plan Moves Forward

Asarco Project website: