SAN ANTONIO – The State of Texas is investigating complaints of excessive dust at a cement and asphalt plant and rock quarry on the Northeast Side. The complaints surround Vulcan Materials on Loop 1604 at O'Connor Road.
In regards to the complaints, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokesman Terry Clawson sent an email to the KSAT 12 Defenders in mid-September: "The San Antonio Region Office has recently received additional dust complaints for this area and as a result is expanding its investigation. The investigation is anticipated to be completed in mid-October."
The Defenders had already received a complaint that "off in a cloud of dust" is not just an expression near that plant. Casual witnesses regularly see trucks entering and leaving the Vulcan Materials and churning up a fine powder that coats the roads.
Homeowner Krystal Henagan lives nearby in the Cedar Grove subdivision. She said she has seen an increase in dust inside and outside her home. "Our community is sick (and) it continues to be on the roadways. This fugitive dust is entering our homes and it's staying in the circulation of our air and we just cannot get away from it," Henagan said.
She has distributed fliers to her neighbors informing them about the problem. She said she cleans constantly because of the dust and has put her son's toys in plastic bags to keep them clean when he's not playing with them. She said their humidifier water gets murky with dust.
Vulcan Materials would not address this complaint on camera with the KSAT 12 Defenders, but a spokesman said the company is taking it seriously. He said Vulcan rented an extra street sweeper for a while but that it failed to improve the dust situation.
In an emailed statement to the Defenders, Vulcan said:
"Vulcan Materials Company is committed to running a safe and responsible business. We work closely with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to insure we operate our business responsibly and within the guidelines of the industry. We commit to our neighbors to operate safely and responsibly. We work hard to be a good corporate citizen and a good neighbor."
While the company investigates the dust Henagan has seen, street-sweepers went to work. "It looks like they're trying to do something," Henagan said.
Vulcan's permit with the state states that the plant's roads must be treated for dust as well as the stockpiles of aggregate material to control dust emissions.