Steam affecting flights in Eagle County |

Steam affecting flights in Eagle County

GYPSUM – Eagle County officials are investigating what to do about steam that delayed or canceled seven flights at Eagle County Regional Airport last month.The white cloud of steam rises out of American Gypsum Wallboard Plant and can be so thick that it reduces visibility.The dry Colorado winters of the past several years have helped the steam evaporate quickly, but wetter weather and cold temperatures this year have created a perfect holding cell for the thick, white steam.County commissioners are looking for solutions.”When the airport shuts down, flights get diverted, and, the most important thing, our customers get inconvenienced,” County Commissioner Peter Runyon said. “They end up landing in Rifle or where ever.”The county also loses out on landing fees when a plane is diverted elsewhere.Bob Jorgenson, supervisor of enforcement for the state’s air pollution control district, said there are no regulations on visible water vapor. But, he said, the plant could put a condenser in the stacks to lower the temperature of the steam, turning it into a liquid that would be disposed of before leaving the stack.”It’s not terribly expensive, but it would be up to the plant to install that,” he said.American Gypsum officials did not respond to a request for comment.Runyon was considering having the county pay to fix the steam problem. Exact cost estimates were not available.

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