Crews at Asarco Site Ready for Demolition

Only a few weeks before stacks fall

Prepping for the Asarco Demolition

EL PASO, Texas - Shortly after sunrise on April 13, El Paso's Asarco smoke stacks are planned to fall to the ground, almost simultaneously, in an explosive demolition lasting less than thirty seconds.

"I have never seen more consideration and involvement from the community go into a demolition project as I have this one," Environmental Resources Management manager Michael Casbon said. "Every safety measure has been taken -- over and above."

That may have something to do with the placement of the stacks.  The 612 and 828-foot stacks are situation within closer proximity to a foreign country, an international waterway, a major U.S. freeway and a small neighborhood.

Casbon says years worth of work have gone into the plan, initially a smaller demolition and site-rehab project.

When El Paso activists were unable to come up with the money to save the smoke stacks from destruction, demolition plans were finalized.

"Gravity's actually going to do the work, when you take those legs out, it's kind of going to sit down and it'll then go over on the hinge points," Casbon said. "They'll fall over like a tree."

Casbon says a protective layer of carbon bedding and soil will capture the stacks' debris, from the broken concrete.  He says around 20 snow-machine-like misters will catch the dust particles, causing them to fall to the bedding instead of drifting into the air.

Though the debate has ended, the controversy has not.  A last-minute march is planned in downtown Wednesday, protesting the demolition of the stacks.

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