Asarco El Paso smelter demolition starts next week

El Paso Times

EL PASO, Texas — A century-old landmark on El Paso’s West Side will begin a slow fade next week.

That’s when demolition begins on the Asarco smelter that closed in 1999 but has remained the subject of controversy over the pollution left in its wake.

Site trustee Roberto Puga tells the El Paso Times that metal acid storage tanks will be the first to go, while the last features to be erased will be the plant’s most notable landmarks: two smokestacks, one 826 feet tall.

Land reclamation work would then begin to clean up such soil contaminants as lead, arsenic and cadmium. Puga says the land will be available for redevelopment by about 2016.