Dust and noise from this concrete plant are riling up neighbors. What’s being done about it?

Dust and noise from this concrete plant are riling up neighbors. What's being done about it?
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The noise is bad, but for people in several neighborhoods in Port Allen, the biggest problem is the dust.

Since a new cement plant opened on American Way, residents say their yards, cars and other property have routinely been coated in dust, and some days there are clouds of it in the air.

“We’re all dealing with sinus problems, sore throats,” said Andrea Martin, who lives in the Riverside Estates subdivision. “No amount of medicine and no kind of medicine I’ve taken has worked.”

Port Allen homeowner Andrea Martin shows the markings on her swimming pool cover that she said come from concrete dust once it gets wet, Tuesday, March 14, 2023 at her home near the Ascension Quality Materials concrete plant, where some residents of subdivisions like Oak Alley and Riverside near the plant have been complaining about the effects of extreme amounts of dust. Her saltwater swimming pool, which does not rely on chlorine, has tested with unsually high levels of chlorine, too high for safe swimming she says, and her pool company says there’s no explanation for it based on the pool’s treatment routine; Martin suspects that some of the airborne components of the concrete mix are doing it.

The new Ascension Quality Materials plant, which opened in October 2022, has become a lightning rod for the community. Nearly a dozen nearby residents expressed frustration over excessive noise and light, as well as fears about health issues caused by silica dust.

Homeowners have complained to local leaders and the state Department of Environmental Quality.

Parish officials say there’s not much they can do because the company is meeting the terms of its permits. State regulators inspected the property, after which the company agreed to install vacuum systems and take other measures that DEQ says helped. 

“We certainly want to be good neighbors,” said Lenny Johnson, the company’s owner. “We do all that we can not to inconvenience anyone. If there are any issues, they can call my office and we’ll fix it right away.”

But that hasn’t satisfied some residents.  

“I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference,” said Lauryn Lacy.

What’s being done

The state DEQ conducted an inspection of the plant on Feb. 27 and found that dust was drifting off the premises.

“Dust was observed leaving site with departure of mixing trucks. Dust was observed leaving site during concrete loading operations into trucks. No precautions to control dust mentioned above from leaving site,” an inspection report says.

After the inspection, the plant added a vacuum box to the top of trucks during loading, which helps prevents dust from leaving the site, according to Chance Townsend, public information officer at DEQ.


About Mary Weyand 14644 Articles
Mary founded Scoop Tour with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research. With ample knowledge about the Automobile industry, she also contributes her knowledge for the Automobile section of the website.

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