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Construction dust concerning Montgomery County residents

October 13, 2017 05:50 PM

Residents of the town of Florida in Montgomery County contacted NewsChannel 13 this week. They're concerned about a massive Dollar General distribution center being built in their backyards - literally.

They told us that in recent weeks they've noticed large clouds of white dust over the site and said it's been blowing onto their properties. They're worried it could be hazardous and asked us to investigate.

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The construction site off Route 5S in the town of Florida is a busy one. A parade of trucks and machinery criss-cross the 100-acre parcel seven days a week from dawn to dusk.

"They usually start about 7:00 in the morning," noted Pat Holt.

She has a front row seat to all the activity happening a few hundred feet behind her home. She and her neighbors have voiced concerns before, but she says they were assured the impact would be limited. Just a few weeks ago, she noticed big clouds of dust over the site, which she says wound up falling on her property.

"The wind a lot of times will blow out of the south, so we do get a fair amount of it over here," she explained. "We keep the windows and doors closed most of the time so it doesn’t get in the house."

She says the air often feels dirty and wants to be sure there are no health risks.

"We’ve asked for air quality tests to be done to see if there’s anything hazardous to us. We’re here 24/7. We live here," she pointed out.

A Department of Environmental Conservation team showed up at her door on Thursday.

"They took some samples from the deck and they went to the construction site. They weren’t sure that they were going to be allowed on there. I don't know if they were or not," she admitted.

NewsChannel 13’s Jerry Gretzinger reached out to DEC on Friday and they confirmed their visit saying:

"DEC a complaint of residue from a construction site impacting air quality in the town of Florida, Montgomery County. DEC immediately investigated the complaints and collected samples near the construction site to ensure protection of public health and the environment."

They gave no estimate on when the results might be available.

"For the most part they've been doing a very good job," acknowledged Florida Town Supervisor Eric Mead.

He says he thinks the dust is some kind of lime treatment, which he says is supposed to aide dust control.

"That’s part of the parameters of the contract. The contractor is responsible for dust control," pointed out Mead.

From Holt's perspective, that responsibility is not being met.

"Sometimes it’s so much that you can't even see the trucks out there," she countered.

Holt also said that some of her neighbors have had their wells run dry since the construction began. Hers is so far unaffected.


Dollar General released the following statement:

"Dollar General is committed to building its Amsterdam distribution center in a manner that is respectful to local residents. Since the project’s inception, Dollar General has worked proactively with area residents to address any construction related concerns and potential issues. The Company took immediate action to correct and control erosion issues caused from recent heavy rains in the area, which also may have contributed to an adjacent neighbor’s well being replenished."

Trust NewsChannel 13 to stay on-top of this story. We’ll keep asking for those results from DEC and let you know what they find.

Credits

WNYT Staff

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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