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Project underway to develop old ASARCO site
By: Stacey Welsh
EL PASO, Texas -- New developments could be coming to the old ASARCO site after the stacks were demolished April 13.
The Texas Custodial Trust is heading the project to clean up the site, and crews are working to do chemical tests on rocks, dirt and other waste to find any hazardous materials.
Site trustee Roberto Puga said most of the waste is made up of iron and silica.
"It also contains significant quantities of toxic metal like arseinc and lead. Because it contains those metals, it needs to be housed in a place where essentially it's segregated from both people and the environment," Puga said.
Puga also said when workers find those materials, they store the waste in a giant cell on the site to keep hazards away from the public in the future. The trust has up to 50 workers a day cleaning up the site.
"It's always been the plan of both the trust and the city itself to redevelop this property. The property itself is very big. It's central to the city and it has a historic, iconic bearing to the city's future," Puga said.
KFOX14 asked some El Paso residents what they think the site should turn into.
"I would like to see a park for a family; a nice area with green trees where families can make picnics and barbecues," Letycia Ward said.
Puga said the trust saved the historic administration building on site. It has been there since 1887. He said another entity in the community could purchase and maintain it.
Puga also expects it to take two to three years to clean out the rest of the hazardous materials, and the land could be ready for redevelopment by 2016.