Mansfield residents call red dust a nuisance - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Mansfield residents call red dust a nuisance

Posted: Updated:
Kathy Mitchell is concerned the red dust coming from the pecan processing plant next to her mother's home is more than a nuisance. Kathy Mitchell is concerned the red dust coming from the pecan processing plant next to her mother's home is more than a nuisance.
The dust comes from the shell removal machines and the machines next to the them, called cyclones, that are supposed to collect the dust. The dust comes from the shell removal machines and the machines next to the them, called cyclones, that are supposed to collect the dust.
Nevell Atkinson, with the Mansfield Warehouse says the red dust coming from the plant is the inner shells of the pecans they process. Nevell Atkinson, with the Mansfield Warehouse says the red dust coming from the plant is the inner shells of the pecans they process.
MANSFIELD, LA (KSLA) -

Restless nights and countless trips to the drug store has residents in one Mansfield, LA community searching for a compromise.  Those residents say when the cotton factory near their home was turned into a pecan plant, conditions began to deteriorate and now they've had enough.

Kathy Mitchell's mother lives just feet away from the Mansfield Warehouse Services facility.  She says say it moved there in the late 1990's, after the plant turned into a pecan factory and over the years they say they've had to deal with what's quickly becoming a nuisance.

"This is the film from the dust coming from the pecan plant," she said as she showed KSLA News 12 cameras a car that was covered in a layer of red dust.

"It's getting worse and worse," says Mitchell.  "Cars are covered with the dust, the house, the porch. I believe it's probably coming through the vents and we're breathing it in. It's gotten a lot worse."

Nevell Atkinson, with the Mansfield Warehouse explains what exactly the red dust is, "The inner shell. That's all the red dust is."

Mitchell fears the dust could be toxic. "To my knowledge pecans are pecans and pecan shells are organic, and it's clean," says Atkinson.

He says the dust comes from the shell removal machines and the machines next to them, called cyclones, that are supposed to collect the dust.

"We want to be good neighbors here, but we also have a small business that we are trying to be contributors of the community," says Atkinson.  He says the Department of Environmental Quality or D.E.Q. has been out to their facility before.  

"They've been out three times, they have inspected the facility and came back with no recommendations of issues that they brought up."

But, KSLA News 12 contacted the D.E.Q's Office of Environmental Compliance and obtained documents which showed in February of 2008, the plant was cited for having a crack in one of the cyclones.  That document claims the cyclone was allowing dust to escape.

D.E.Q followed up two months later and concluded that the problem had been fixed.

That was one of two incidents involving a crack or hole in a cyclone since 1997. The other was back in 2004. It was resolved as well.

Mitchell says, the dust isn't the only issue.  "Sometimes it's like a helicopter starting up in your yard."  Noise of machines at work amplifies at night.

Atkinson says "Equipment is going to have sound to it. This is the first I've heard about the sound."

"How would they feel if they can't sleep at night? From the noise, the dust, you're breathing it in. We're going to keep going until we found someone that can help us," says Mitchell.

Mitchell says the plant has provided them with car covers to help with the dust. While Nevell Atkinson says they will consider checking with other pecan plants to see if there is anything else they can do to help.

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow