RAVENA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Residents in the village of Ravena say they are dealing with a mysterious dust that is coating their homes and vehicles.
“I mean it’s all over everywhere. My neighbors have got it.” Mike Babcock is talking about a mysterious dust that’s not only coated his new pickup. “It’s like a gritty dust.”
It seems to be everywhere, on his kids’ trampoline and on his wife’s vehicle outside their Ravena home. “No matter how much you rub, it does not come off,” said Mike.
Fran Pasquini, who lives a few streets over, said she is dealing with the same problem. NEWS10’s Anya Tucker asked Fran what she thought was causing the dust.
“I don’t know,” she said. “But based on the right side of my vehicle being worse than my left, it’s coming from that direction. (Fran pointed to a wooded area) Which is Lafarge plant.”
The cement giant Lafarge has stacks that loom over the village. Longtime residents like Fran and Mike said they have experienced dustings here and there over their many years living in the village.
Mike says Lafarge has offered to clean impacted vehicles, and he says a Lafarge representative offered to have his vehicles detailed free of charge after the last dusting over Halloween.
“But that’s not a solution,” said Mike. “You know, you’re breathing this stuff in daily.”
More recently, concerns were heightened with a substance that just won’t come off. One Ravena resident shared a video with NEWS10 of her trying to wipe the gritty substance off her stove.
Anya asked Ravena Mayor Bill Misuraca if he was concerned about what effect the dust might have on his residents.
“Absolutely,” he said.
Misuraca, who’s truck also got dusted, says he’s fielding dozens and dozens of complaints from residents. He says he has also reached out to Lafarge.
“We did have an initial response. And at that time they said they were going to test and make sure that it was their material.”
But Misuraca says that was 10 days ago, and since then, he says Lafarge has not offered any answers.
The Department Of Environmental Conservation told NEWS10 they are investigating, and the mayor says the DEC has collected samples of the dust for testing to see exactly what it is, and if it is, in fact, coming from the Lafarge plant.
Lafarge sent NEWS10 the following statement:
“We are aware of the complaints regarding fugitive dust on private property in the Ravena area, and we have been in ongoing discussions with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) about this matter.
As a long-standing and engaged member of the local community and the largest employer in Southern Albany County, we are deeply committed to being a good neighbor and protecting the environment while providing good-paying jobs.
We take all concerns and complaints about the plant very seriously, and we aim to operate in a manner that causes zero harm to employees, workers, contractors, customers, and visitors. We have been in communication with impacted residents and recently launched a new initiative to better engage with members of the public so we can build on the already strong foundation established over our close to six decades of operations.
Anyone who wishes to contact the plant in connection with a problem, question, or complaint – including occurrences of materials on vehicles or other property – can email us directly at Ravena@lafargeholcim.com so we can start a formal process of collecting data, if a resident agrees, to help determine the materials’ type and source.
We will continue to work with the appropriate authorities on this, and any future matters, and also with impacted individuals to maintain an open dialogue and ensure solutions are reached.”