Oak Creek residents say dust continues to blow into neighborhood despite We Energies' protocol changes
OAK CREEK, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A number of residents who live near the We Energies plant in Oak Creek are putting their homes on the market.
They believe coal dust is still blowing into the neighborhood even after We Energies encapsulated one of the piles.
The first week of March, residents woke up to find coal dust covering their cars and lawns. We Energies says it's owned up to the incident and has since encapsulated the pile and it's currently not being used.
The north coal pile is now covered with a green tarp-like material. It's a mix of chemicals and shredded paper materials to prevent the dust from blowing off.
"We don't believe we have any coal dust leaving our site," Pat Stiff with We Energies told CBS 58. "The change in operating protocols, plus keeping those coal piles damp has eliminated the possibility of coal dust leaving the site."
We Energies says it sprays the other piles every two hours to prevent dust issues, but residents say they are still seeing what appears to be coal dust and think it's coming from the south pile.
“They need to get serious about their solution they’ve told us they are going to spray this pile and encapsulate it, it's not working," said resident Eric Ross.
Recent dust particles found on neighbors homes have not yet been tested for coal.
Seven homeowners have put their homes on the market because of the dust residents have seen covering their cars, yards, and homes.
"We won't be able to move, we would have to walk away from the house. No one is going to buy it with coal on the property. Nobody will. That's the only option we got or they need to extend the buffer and buy the people they want out," said Millard.
We Energies says they will keep the pile encapsulated until they find a long-term solution. It is considering wind barriers as a long term solution.
“For those folks that believe they are still having coal dust we encourage them to contact us. We will come and test that material because we want to be a good neighbor - we are committed to that," said Stiff.
Residents are hoping to schedule a meeting with city leaders and We Energies to find a solution.