"Plumes of dust" cause problems near Seaholm plant


by KRIS BETTS / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @KrisB_KVUE


Posted on June 19, 2013 at 9:44 PM

Updated Thursday, Jun 20 at 8:03 AM

AUSTIN -- Work on the Seaholm Power Plant project began about a month ago, but according to residents living nearby, "It’s really ramped up in the last couple of days.”

Shawn Withers and his family live at the Gables complex directly across the street and he tells KVUE the dust from the Seaholm project has become a serious issue.

“There are just plumes of dust; it looks like a sandstorm," said Withers.

Cars on the street and in the Gables’ parking garage are covered in a thick layer of dust. Tracy Smith says she’s worried about her health.

“I have to cover my mouth, cover my nose with a shirt or something and cut through as fast as I can to get some fresh air," said Smith. “We're concerned about what's in the dust; it's coming from a power plant."

Smith has also contacted police and the city about the construction vehicles coming in and out of the site.

“I'm wondering if maybe there's another route that they can take other than where there's a residential building and lots of running, biking, people walking with babies, pedestrians, etc," said Smith.

As for the dust, on Wednesday Gables management sent out a letter asking residents and business owners to take action.

“We shouldn't be breathing it for five minutes, much less for an extended amount of time,” said Withers.

They hope some awareness will help control the dust so people can once again breathe easy.

The Seaholm developer contacted KVUE and said they were not aware there was a problem until Wednesday evening. They said they will address the dust immediately.

As for health concerns, Seaholm developers assure us the site has received a clean bill of health from both TCEQ at the state level and the EPA at the federal level.