GONZALES – The Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality on Tuesday visited the source of a recurring “red dust cloud” that has led to near-daily complaints lately from nearby residents.
Officials told WBRZ that Roger Gingles and several members of his staff visited the former Lalumina LLC aluminum processing site to assess the situation.
The facility has not been used for production in years. The dust issue is a byproduct of residual bauxite that is kept in ponds on the former Lalumina Burnside Refinery property, near Pelican Crossing.
The hot, dry Summer of 2023 exacerbated an already persistent problem, with large red clouds common in recent months.
Complaints have poured in to LDEQ, which told WBRZ that efforts by the company to address the situation — using a sprinkler system — have been hampered by supply chain issues, pump failures and weather conditions.
“The department is receiving dust complaints from Sorrento almost daily, and LDEQ has a pending enforcement action against the facility because of the dust,” a spokesman said on Tuesday, adding that Lalumina is working with the agency to “address the enforcement action.”
Officials said they are looking for ways to reduce dust emissions in the short term while developing a long-term solution to the concern.