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Contractor put on notice for plume of red-brick dust from downtown manhole work

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — From three blocks away, people can see very clearly red dust shooting from a construction site.

News 8 spotted the plume of red dust just before 2 p.m. Wednesday from the Indianapolis Artsgarden, a glassed dome spanning the downtown intersection of Washington and Illinois streets.

According to a spokesperson for the city government, Citizens Energy Group hired a contractor to replace a manhole with a new frame, cover and concrete collar. The spokeperson had no explanation on what caused the column of red dust or if the city was investigating.

But on Friday morning, I-Team 8 went to the construction site to get a better look at what was happening. I-Team 8 was told the manhole is being replaced over a steam pipe about 10-12 feet below the surface of the street.

Dan Considine, a spokesperson for Citizens Energy Group, said the contractor has been put on notice.

“They were using a saw to cut the street, and the street in that area is brick. That saw should have been equipped with a filter to minimize dust, and the filter was not operating so the contractor created a significant amount of dust,” Considine said.

I-Team 8 called the owner of the company doing the work, and he declined an interview. But, he said, the vacuum truck that he hired for the project had a filter system failure Wednesday. That failure has been repaired.

On Friday, a high-pitched sound came from the vacuum truck designed to keep dust and debris from leaving the area. While News 8 was there, though, a steady and visible stream of dust was coming from the vacuum exhaust.