On Monday, the second day of Interstate 10 closures at San Simon caused by blowing dust from a nearby farm, state inspectors and farm managers agreed that more aggressive measures would be taken the next day.
Specifically, three water trucks starting around 7 a.m. would be used to wet down a recently prepped 50-acre plot, instead of the two that proved insufficient at David’s Agrigold Farms on Monday. An additional and closer water source was also to be used.
Instead, the first truck didn’t get going until 9:30 a.m., a half hour before the Tuesday I-10 closure started, and the second didn’t start until 10:30 a.m.
The third truck never got going because there was no one to drive it and the extra water source “was not able to be used due to lack of correct parts” until 3 p.m., resulting in “lag time” to refill the trucks, according to an inspection report obtained by the Star.
Caroline Oppleman, a spokeswoman for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, which conducted the inspections, said that all three days of closures — including Tuesday’s — were “avoidable.”
David Turner, the farm’s owner, and two farm managers did not respond to requests for comment. Nicki Frank, of David Turner International, said the farm has no comment.
Asked if the farm had been meeting its commitments more consistently since Tuesday, Oppleman said it had. There have been no I-10 closures near San Simon due to dust since Tuesday.
An inspection report dated Wednesday stated the portion of the 50-acre plot nearest the interstate was “heavily saturated” after a microsprinkler system was set up the day before.
Oppleman said the microsprinkler system for the whole plot was installed a day ahead of schedule. A farm manager said it would be run through the weekend. ADEQ inspectors will also be on the property through the weekend.
“Progress is being made,” Oppleman said.