ASARCO Smelter Site Cleanup, El Paso, Texas
01 AUG 2012

New Updates to the ASARCO Smelter Site Website

The Texas Custodial Trust is committed to the remediation of the Site and to working with the surrounding community and stakeholders. As part of our stakeholder outreach efforts we are dedicated to maintaining a website that has the most current and up-to-date site information. Please note that there have been new website updates and some new site activities. These include:

  1. Category I Landfill – Cell 4 and Interim Channel Construction

    Excavation for Category I landfill facility (Cell 4) began the first week of November, 2011. The final extent of excavation activities has been reached, and verified with survey data. In all, approximately 150,000 cubic yards of slag, and 140,000 cubic yards of native material was removed from the landfill footprint and Parker Brothers Arroyo, and placed in stockpiles on the plant site. Construction crews have begun placing clean engineered fill back into the arroyo to build the bottom of the landfill. An engineered 60-mil thick high density polyethylene (HDPE) liner over a geosynthetic clay liner will be installed over the prepared subgrade. A protective layer of selected impacted material will be carefully placed over the liner. Impacted soils and debris from the former smelter will then be placed into the cell and compacted. A soil cover will be placed over the filled cell to encapsulate the impacted material. Drainage improvements and a final erosion prevention cover will be installed as filling of the cell is completed. The final cover will be graded to blend into the surrounding topography.

    Parker Brothers Arroyo (interim channel design): Based on information collected during the data gap assessment, the Trust, with TCEQ and EPA concurrence, has determined that removal of slag in the bottom of Parker Brothers Arroyo will facilitate remediation of the groundwater at the Site and will greatly aid in the rehabilitation of the Arroyo. In total, approximately 120,000 cubic yards of slag and slag/soil have been removed from Parker Brothers Arroyo and placed in stockpiles on the plant property. Once the excavation of the slag material was completed, the Trust, in conjunction with TCEQ, collected verification, the area will be backfilled with clean material and then constructed to the approved configuration that meets the City of El Paso drainage design requirements.

    The Trust is continuing to work with TCEQ and EPA to install a field demonstration test of two permeable reactive barriers in Parker Brothers Arroyo. The permeable reactive barriers will use zero-valent iron to treat the arsenic in the groundwater. It is anticipated that construction of the field demonstration sites will begin in August 2012.

    Schedule: Regulatory approvals from TCEQ and the City of El Paso have been received for both the Category 1 Landfill – Cell 4 and the Interim Channel Design (Click here to view these approvals). A revised design package for the landfill liner system was submitted to TCEQ on July 9. Excavation of Cell 4 is completed. Excavation of the Interim Channel began at the end of January 2012 and was recently completed. Construction of the Interim Channel will begin once the installation of the permeable reactive barriers is complete, approximately October 2012. Installation of the Cell 4 liner will begin once the excavation and prepared subgrade is complete and is anticipated to be completed in September or October. It is anticipated that filling of the landfill will take 12-18 months.

  2. Facility Demolition Update

    Facility Asset Recovery and Demolition Update Facility demolition is wrapping up as asset recovery operations continue and additional work is conducted on the structures that will remain after demolition. To date more than $14 million has been deposited into the Trust’s account as a result of asset recovery operations.

    At the conclusion of the demolition scope of work, the following structures will remain on site: 1. the Bedding Building, which is slated for eventual complete demolition, has been partially demolished and will continue to be used for temporary material storage until other on-site activities are complete. 2. the Administration Building is intended to remain as a permanent structure on site. Demolition of the two large concrete stacks has been suspended as described in the Trustee’s statement on this page (click here to view this statement). Lastly, several large water tanks will remain on site to facilitate investigation and remediation activities.

  3. Additional Investigation of the East Developable Property

    The Trust has developed an additional sampling work plan to sample the East Developable Property, located east of I-10 and south of Executive Center Blvd. The area is approximately 140 acres in size. Two types of sampling will be conducted during this round of sampling. The first samples will be collected on a grid pattern to determine if there are concentrations of chemicals of concern above residential standards due to airborne deposition. The second type of sampling will be 15 test pits focused on the southern portion of the property that will focus on the areas of historical slag deposition. Sample collection is anticipated to begin toward the end of July 2012. The results of this sampling will help the Trust determine if it is feasible to remediate the East Developable Property to residential standards or if the property will be remediated to commercial/industrial standards.

  4. Property Disposition & Development

    Currently the Trust is in the process of hiring a real estate broker and marketing firm to market the property as a whole.

  5. TxDOT Coordination for the Expansion of I-10

    The Trustee is working with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) on easement negotiations for the proposed expansion of the Border Highway West. To date, the Trustee has completed an archaeological survey around the former Smeltertown cemetery to assist with the negotiations. In addition, we are working with TxDOT to evaluate alternative grading configurations and improvements to the drainage structures near I-10 that will equally facilitate both the Border Highway West and smelter clean-up projects.

  6. Save the Stack Group

    The Save the Stacks Group and the Trustee have recently met to discuss progress. The Group is currently in the process of hiring a contractor and conducted a site bid walk on July 10th. Please note that last November, the Site Trustee paused plans to demolish the smokestacks, giving Save the Stacks a one year delay to show that is has the public support and finances to preserve the stacks.

  7. Recent News

    Local publications have recently written a number of articles on the Site. Such articles include Asarco’s future: Bicycle paths envisioned for arroyo cleared of slag Additionally, click here to view all recent news articles on the Site.

Thank you for your interest in the website. We appreciate your blog posts and are working to answer any questions in a timely manner.