Noelle Walker

McKinney Neighborhood Cleaning Up After Cement Dust Cloud Coats Streets

On Monday afternoon, cleaning trucks drove down streets in the McKinney Greens neighborhood, while some residents strolled the sidewalks wearing dust masks. It's been that way since the Martin Marietta McKinney Ready Mix cement batch plant accidentally released a cement dust cloud into the neighborhood on July 17.

"I've been walking around with a mask for the last week and a half," said Al Alcantara as he walked his dog, Oreo. "It's in trees, it's on our roofs, it's in gutters, it's in the grass. It's everywhere!"

"It looked like a volcano had gone off," said Don Pizarro showing photos of his black car coated thick with dust. "Everything was just covered in massive quantities of gray dust."

A week and a half later, Pizarro said residents are still cleaning up. He said the cleaning crew Martin Marietta sent to his home wore gloves and masks while cleaning.

"They seem to think it's not a big deal. Oh, it's just a little bit of dust. No, this is toxic chemical caustic dust. Causes cancer!" Pizarro said with frustration.

The Texas Commission for Environmental Quality is investigating. The TCEQ released a statement suggesting resident wash any areas exposed to the dust, but said there should be no longterm issues.

Residents aren't convinced. "It's maddening. It's maddening," said Pizarro.

Martin Marietta released a statement saying it shut down the plant to investigate, and is cooperating with the City of McKinney and TCEQ to find out how the dust release happened and make sure it doesn't happen again.

In a statement, the City of McKinney said it would also investigate enforcement options.

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