KNVX Ch 15 ABC Phoenix - ADEQ Turns to 'Gorilla-Snot' to Solve I-10 Dust Problem

Phil Villarreal; Craig Smith
2016-05-18
KGUN9-TV

SAN SIMON, Ariz (KGUN9­TV) ­ Could Gorilla-Snot be the answer to dangerous dust on I­10?

Dangerous blowing dust has prompted the state to close a 60 mile stretch of I­10 east of US 191 several times in the past few weeks.

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Now the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality has turned to a product called Gorilla­-Snot to hold down the dust.

Dust can be so thick on I­10 Near Mile Marker 376 that drivers can barely see past their hoods.

The dust blows from a farm there. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality says when it seemed to DEQ the land owner wasn't moving fast enough to stop the dust the state spent 200 thousand dollars to bring in Gorilla-­Snot.

No actual gorillas are involved. Chemists developed what's called a co­polymer, sort of a plastic that helps build a crust on the soil to hold down the dust.

Just outside the fence line for the farmland there's plenty of ground cover to hold in the dust and keep it from blowing away but inside the fence line this farm operation stripped the land bare. There's plenty of unobstructed space for the wind to really get rolling and carry the dust towards I-10.

Before the Department of Environmental Quality stepped in with 200 thousand dollars worth of Gorilla-Snot ADOT spent probably 180 thousand dollars wetting the field with regular water trucks.

ADOT Spokesperson C.T. Revere says, “The cost to ADOT to continue those operations was about 30 thousand dollars a day.” That brings the total bill for the taxpayers to about $380,000.

At this point state officials say everyone is concentrating on getting a lid on the dangerous dust before there's any discussion of getting any of that money back.

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Picture by Villarreal, Phil

ADEQ says workers have that Gorilla-Snot applied to about a quarter of the 320 acres in question and early reports arethe area held the dust down pretty well when the wind came up Wednesday afternoon.

Through all this ADOT and DPS are watching conditions and if they turn dangerous the road will close and drivers will detour here again.

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