BETHANY, Ind. (WISH) — Since December, a sandy, dust-like material has covered the small town of Bethany Park in Morgan County at least three times.
An I-Team 8 investigation that aired Wednesday showed the source of the dust is coming from a specialized concrete plant.
The owners of the plant had promised to reduce the problem, but the dust returned Thursday.
On Thursday afternoon, Buford Meade stepped outside of his shop and was hit right in the face by sand. He said he can hardly believe it is happening again. This is at least the third time since late December
“We were out there probably about three hours ago and we noticed something was spraying in our face. I was like, ‘What is that?’ and started looking on the cars and there it is again,” Meade said.
His kids’ trampoline in the back yard is covered. The basketball goal in the driveway is covered. The same for one of his work trucks.
“it is not like a dirt; it is more like sand,” Meade said.
Meade and others in Bethany Park fear they have inhaled this sand. A few weeks ago, he was diagnosed with pneumonia.
“We are worried about our kids, you know, and if we are not here to protect them, who is going too? And, you know, how are they gonna be 15, 20, 30 years down the road, you know. I would like to see my grandkids. I would like to be here, so without know exactly what’s happening, it puts a questions mark up there, like what is going to happen,” Meade said.
The sandy gritty dust is coming from Arcosa Lightweight, a specialty concrete company about a half mile south of the town. On Thursday, the usually busy plant was silent. A company spokesperson sent a text message to I-Team 8 that said one of the kilns at the facility was down; he also said there was no dust in the air.
A text message to I-Team 8 read: “We operate two rotary kilns. One kiln was down for maintenance. The other kiln was operating properly with a normal amount of steam visible from the stack.”
The company told I-Team 8 they were working to reduce a significant violation reported to Indiana Department of Environment Management (IDEM) and working with both the state and the residents to mitigate any added releases of dust.
Danny Miller has lived his entire life in Bethany Park and considered Arcosa a pretty decent neighbor until recently.
“I feel like the state is not going to pursue them to keep up with their equipment and do what they are supposed to be doing,” Miller said.
Miller has recently developed breathing problems.
“I went to the doctor and got checked out this week. I’m having issues with oxygen levels that my lungs are producing,” Miller said.
The town of Bethany Park is not at this point preparing any legal action against Arcosa. They just want the dusting of their town to stop. Several people have serious concerns about the long-term health effects of breathing the sandy dust.
IDEM said it was unable to give an update on its investigation.