On Sept. 4, 2019, ADEQ conducted a public hearing at our Community Center.  It was the culmination of a 30-day public comment period as part of Alliance’s application for an Air Quality control permit.  Attending were about 150 local citizens and most of the senior management of La Paz County.   Approximately a dozen people signed up to speak.  Every speaker expressed opposition to the aluminum recycling smelter, no one spoke in support.

Once they became aware of the potential hazards, both the Wenden Elementary School Board and the Wenden Water District passed resolutions to officially oppose this development.  These two boards represent the only elected officials in Wenden.

Locating a secondary aluminum smelter in a populated area violates all of the rules of modern zoning and planning. No consideration was given to the social, and environmental impact to its location. The EPA labels such facilities as major sources of hazardous air pollutants.  This kind of operation should be located at least 25 miles from a population center.  Alliance’s location is within Wenden town limits, .34 miles from the closest home, .75 miles from the elementary school and the entire town of Wenden is within 1.0 mile of their site.  This is a concern for several reasons.

Stated in the company’s application to ADEQ and in the Draft Permit ADEQ is considering, the facility will emit nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead and hazardous air pollutants, including dioxins and furans.

Additionally, the facility will use and store 30,000 gallons of chlorine.  Using air dispersion models created with EPA software, it has been assessed that in the event of an accident that causes a catastrophic release of chlorine, assuming a 10 mph wind blowing toward the east, a cloud with the concentration of 4,000 parts of chlorine per million would cover the entire town of Wenden in less than six minutes.  According to the CDC, a concentration of 4,000 parts per million is immediately lethal.  There would be no time to evacuate.

With regard to Mr. Barton’s remark about trucks: “There will only be a couple of trucks per hour passing through the facility.” I refer to information they submitted to ADEQ.  The facility will be operating 24/7.  They will be processing 87,600 tons of ingots and bars per year.  That’s 365 20-ton trucks per month in and out of the facility.

With regard to taxes, they like to discuss how their increased taxes would help.  Yes more tax income revenue would help with most of it going to Wenden Elementary and the High School.

I would welcome Alliance Metals and their operation to La Paz County and encourage their development, just not in the middle of a population center.

Gary Saiter

Chairman, Wenden Water Improvement District Board

President, Wenden Elementary School Board

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