Asarco Smokestack Will Be Costly To Save

By Phillip Mena – Multimedia Journalist

EL PASO – Tens of millions. That’s how much Robert Puga, the man in charge of the Asarco cleanup and eventual sale of the property says it will cost to save the iconic Asarco smokestack.

And that doesn’t even include maintanence.

“We think the cost to maintain it would be in excess of $50,000 to $100,000 a year to maintain,” Puga said. “To recoat the outside surface every few years and also to carry an insurance policy and that money would probably have to come from public funds.”

None of the $52 million awarded to Puga’s group in the settlement will go to saving the smokestack.

Instead that money will go to capping contaminated soil, dealing with the groundwater issue, and the demolition of the property…scheduled to begin by year’s end.

Despite the extensive efforts to cleanup the site for future use, Puga says we can rule out schools, hospitals, and homes.

Instead he says a bridge might be the best use for the property.

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