Floods and That Sinking Feeling-Part 1

Wenden Flood

Wenden, 2010

So what happens when the floods come?  The most recent ‘100 year’ floods to hit our area, 2000, 2010 and 2014 were devastating, as you all know.  The levels were amazing.  In the flood of 2000, the wash crested at 8.82 feet.  In 2010, it crested at 6.85 and in 2014 it crested at 7.02 feet.  Why is that important? The property that Alliance wants to build their smelter on is on the flood plain.  I don’t even believe that they were aware.  They may also not have been aware that there are specific building specifications from FEMA and the Army Corp of Engineers when building on a flood plain.

The wash directly at the edge of the property has an elevation of 1,846 feet.  The elevations directly next to their buildings are 1,817 feet, 1,819 feet and 1,851 feet.  Do the math.  At the highest levels, the property is only five feet above the floor of the wash and all three recent floods would breech the property.  Two of those locations are below the floor of the wash so when the water flows over the banks it floods those areas.  When the floods come the water will breech the banks of the wash and flood Alliance Metals operation.

So, its just water, right?  What’s the big deal? Here is the big deal.

  • A flash flood washing through their facility has the potential of washing away the support base of the chlorine tank and causing the tank to break free. This could cause a breech of the tank releasing a cloud of chlorine gas.
  • There will be very dangerous hazardous materials stored on the property. These consist of the ‘dirty charge’, which their application has identified including aluminum dross (identified by EPA as extremely toxic to humans), contaminated transmissions (identified on their application to ADEQ) and salt cake (also extremely toxic and considered a hazardous waste material).  These materials would contaminate the floodwater and as it flows down the wash and floods the area, it has the potential of leeching into the aquifer! Not good!
  • A flash flood has the potential of flooding the furnace room and engulfing the oven.Even when you shut the furnace off, it takes awhile for molten aluminum to cool off from its roughly 1,500 degree temperature.  When water hits molten aluminum, it will explode very violently.

While I know these are all what ifs, what if?  Why does it make sense to temp fate and build this plant on this property when there are so many opportunities for something bad to happen?  Come to La Paz County but locate your operation in a more appropriate place.

See the flood plain map and elevations:

Google Earth Smelter FEMA

One Comment Add yours

  1. Dean Lyman says:

    All very pertinent info. Just like to remind ppl that we are for recycling and want Alliance Metals to open up the smelter. Just cant b at that location. Its way to risky . Finally, a topic that hasnt been talked about much is that a smelter operating 24/7 means the constant noise pollution of fork lifts in reverse and grinding of metal that will disturb the residents as well.


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