ASARCO Smelter Site Cleanup, El Paso, Texas
7 FEB 2013

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. Trust’s Decision to Knock Down the Stacks

    The ASARCO Trust has resumed the planning for the stacks’ demolition since a feasible proposal for saving the stacks (meeting the important criteria that the Trust set forth last year) was not submitted to the Trust by the due date of December 4, 2012. Demolition is estimated to occur in early April 2013

  2. Community Meeting Announcement

    A Community Meeting regarding the Former ASARCO Smelter Site is scheduled for February 26, 2013 from 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM. The purpose of this meeting is to inform the public of the logistics of the stack demolition, health & safety protocols and road closures. Specific meeting details:

    Community Meeting regarding the Former ASARCO Smelter Site
    February 26, 2013
    6:00pm – 7:00pm
    El Paso Downtown Public Library, Main Auditorium
    501 North Oregon Street

  3. PRB Field Demonstration: 3 Month Status Update, Parker Brothers Arroyo (PBA)

    The Trust recently submitted an updated status on the permeable reactive barrier (PRB) Field Demonstration activities being conducted at the Site. The Trust proposed to use zerovalent iron (ZVI)-based PRBs to treat groundwater in situ and help reduce the flux of constituents of concern (COCs) as part of the groundwater remedial strategy. Details of these field demonstration activities were discussed in the approved Field Demonstration of Zerovalent Iron Treatment Technology in Parker Brothers Arroyo submitted to TCEQ in July 2012. Concentrations of COCs have been monitored both before and after the installation of the PRBs. The concentrations of iron in groundwater are increasing and the groundwater levels have stabilized, indicating that groundwater is flowing through the PRBs as designed. There has been a decrease in arsenic and selenium at some of the down gradient wells. The Trust will continue to monitor the groundwater concentrations as part of the field demonstration for the two PRBs. Additional groundwater monitoring wells will be installed in Parker Brothers Arroyo once in the Interim Channel bottom is complete; this is currently anticipated in April 2013. Click here to view the Draft PRB Field Demonstration – Three Month Status Update, February 1, 2013.

  4. Sierra Club Presentation

    The Trustee was invited to speak at the El Paso branch of the Sierra Club on January 30, 2013. The presentation covered project phasing and timeline, components of the remedy – including demolition, soils and groundwater, funding and the project end vision. Click here to view the ASARCO Sierra Club Presentation, January 30, 2013.

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

    As described in the previous email blast, excavation for the Category I landfill facility (Cell 4) began the first week of November, 2011. The final extent of excavation activities had 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 completed placing clean engineered fill to build the bottom of the landfill. The landfill is now ready for the 6-inch thick prepared subgrade. 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 erosion prevention measures will be installed as filling of the cell is completed. The final cover will be contoured to blend into the surrounding topography.

    Basement Backfill Design and Placement
    Starting after Thanksgiving 2012, the Trust’s contractors began using Category II material from the excavation of the Cell 4 and Interim Channel Construction area in the Parker Brother’s Arroyo to backfill building basements at the site. The material is an engineered soil backfill that will facilitate future development on the plant site. The volume of Category II material used to date as backfill is approximately 55,000 cubic yards with an estimated 20,000 cubic yards more to be placed. The basements backfilled to date using Category II material are the ore unloading building basement and the north area of the ConTop. Additional basements to be filled include the engineering building, pipe trench, and the south end of the ConTop. Additional Category II material is planned to be used as sub-base before a clean cover is placed on top, as part of the remedy. 6500 CY of clean soil was also used as backfill in five very small basements due to limited access and difficult placement conditions. These basements including: the cooling tower house pits, the warehouse basement, the east scale pit, the antimony pits, and the train scale house pits.

    A revised design package for the landfill liner system was submitted to TCEQ on July 9, 2012 with additional modeling submitted on January 15, 2013 in response to comments by TCEQ. Excavation and placement of engineered backfill in Cell 4 to create the bottom shape of the cell is complete. Excavation of the Interim Channel began at the end of January 2012 and was completed in July 2012.

    Installation of the Cell 4 liner will begin once the prepared subgrade is complete and we receive concurrence from TCEQ and EPA to proceed with the installation; this is anticipated in February 2013. It is anticipated that filling of the landfill will take 12-18 months.

    We will continue to monitor the field demonstration of the two PRBs, detailed monitoring of the treatment results will occur for at least a year and long-term monitoring of the PRBs will continue as part of the site operations and maintenance.

    Basement backfill is anticipated to be complete by April 2013. Click here to view relevant documents.

  6. Recent News

    Local publications have recently written a number of articles on the Site. Such articles include Preparations made for the smokestacks’ demolition. 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.