General Site Questions

The following general site questions and responses are originated from an email exchange between an El Paso citizen and the Site Trustee in August 2010:

  1. Question: Why was ASARCO using two horizontal, 45,000-gallon cryogenic liquid oxygen above-ground tanks after the plant closed in 2/1999. I witnessed one of those two tanks being trucked into the plant up the long slag-hill behind the plant past the old acid-plant just several years ago.What were these tanks being used for after the Asarco site was closed and what description would I give to get those public-records from TCEQ? We have ALL the Asarco records from TCEQ and none describe this operation.

    Response: The tank removed from the site was an out of service tank that contained ammonia. The tank was removed and either sold or transferred to another Asarco facility.

  2. Question: ASARCO had an auction in 2001-2. It was huge, and I have the complete listing of the items sold. My question is, why did ASARCO auction off assets at that time; and why didn’t ASARCO auction off the assets that you are presently going to auction?Even though the plant was closed (idled) in 2/99, several of us witnessed a railroad-mounted crane with magnet offloading steel cylinders to the s-w side of the tracks facing Paisano. The large crane could only lift three of these at a time. The cylinders were about as long as the radius of that magnet, completely smooth and shiny with a flat top. The magnet also offloaded many flat square cut pieces of metal.

    Where were those when you got control of the site? If those were not on the site when you got control, then what did ASARCO do with these. Was ASARCO still doing limited smelting of metal from 2/99 to that date using other smaller smelting units. The building between the oxygen plant and rubber lake has a large stack and we witnessed many many blue barrels being unloaded to that facility during those years.

    How would I go about requesting public records for those activities?

    Response: There was no overlap in communication between the Site Trustee and the previous site owners regarding removal of any assets. We have no documentation of these activities and can not speculate on any prior auctions or other activities.

  3. Question: Project Navigator is aware that the EPA proved that ASARCO illegally burned secret hazardous wastes for nearly ten years for profit at the ASARCO El Paso site, and that the chemicals from these activities remain undeclared.So, why are the workers doing the rewiring on-site not wearing protective gear? Isn’t Project Navigator concerned for the future health and the safety of these men? When the EPA came here in 2001 to sample the area, those workers wore white hazmat gear (see epgtlo.blogspot.com top page for photo).

    Response: Both the GAO and EPA have fully investigated and reported on the hazardous waste issue involving Encycle and Asarco. In a February 16, 2010 letter to the EPA, several environmental groups presented eight (8) different issues they had with the cleanup of the former ASARCO site. A major request/issue was # 3B: “EPA should make public all information concerning the type, source and amounts of hazardous waste that were illegally incinerated at the facility.” In their May 11, 2010 response the EPA supported TCEQ’s determination that ASARCO was a metal contaminated site and that “EPA has no data that “product” sent by Encycle to ASARCO contained organic chemicals.

    PNL workers fully are trained and informed about any current or potential site hazards and are outfitted accordingly. Workers performing electrical work are not in contact with waste and therefore do not need hazmat gear to perform the work. Additionally, workers have been informed of any on site risks.

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