Black dust still a problem for Lake Charles residents - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Black dust still a problem for Lake Charles residents

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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Despite a new fence and a failed netting system surrounding company Industrial Carbon Services, not much has changed for the residents off North General Wainright Drive.

Black dust released from the company continues to cover their homes and vehicles.

"Enough is enough. We've had enough of this," said Carrie Withers, a concerned resident.

Withers first noticed the black dust last summer. After investigation, she realized it was coming from the company in the back of her home on Industrial Drive. Neighbors have since joined her and are now also voicing concerns.

"My kids are breathing in this dust ... I'm breathing it in. Other kids in the neighborhood are breathing it in and my kids are asthmatic," said Eleck Brown, a concerned resident.

The black dust is a result from a process of repacking petro coke. An investigation is underway by the Department of Environmental Quality of possible health hazards. The results are still pending. Meanwhile, the City of Lake Charles is also taking its questions a step further and is now looking into zoning issues and other possible violations.

Withers shot video which shows the dust being released from the property. In the video, workers can also be seen wearing protective suits and masks. Neighbor Alfred Caesar has worked in the industry and said not enough is being done.

"There is no way they can contain the dust. I worked in it and we had to take precautions. Just like you heard before on some of the workers, they are wearing masks ... And I don't think us living in our neighborhood should be wearing masks to live in our neighborhood," said Caesar.

While it appears to be an attempt to resolve the problem, residents believe a wooden fence surrounding the company is only a way to hide the operation.

"The fencing that they have put up is not going to contain the dust. The dust is airborne. It goes over the top of the fence and it spreads whichever way the wind blows," said Brown.

It also appears as though the dust is coming from under the fence. Black dust can be seen on the ground and covering patches of grass. 

With the long-term effects still unknown, residents hope the City of Lake Charles is on their side and think it's time Industrial Carbon Services relocate.

"Somewhere where it is not around a community. This is not an industrial location, this is a neighborhood. This is a community," said Caesar. 

"I'm just tired of this. I'm just tired. Really tired. Tired of breathing this stuff. I'm tired of fighting with these people. I'm just tired," said Withers.

Several attempts to reach anyone with Industrial Carbon Services were unsuccessful. We're told city officials plan to meet with the property owner and owner of the company as early as Tuesday. We'll continue to follow the story and bring you the latest.

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