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Battle over red dust in Ascension Parish could be coming to an end

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GONZALES – For years, folks in Ascension Parish have complained about red dust flying through the air, landing on property and worried about the potential dangers of breathing in the particles.

The dust comes from LAlumina Burnside Refinery, an aluminum plant that closed in 2020. When weather conditions are dry and windy, red dust from bauxite mud ponds is picked up and carried into the neighboring subdivision Pelican Crossing. There were sprinklers put in to keep the dirt moist, but in May 2022 they failed

Tuesday, the Ascension Parish Finance Committee considered a measure, boosting a contract with environmental consulting company ELOS Environmental. The committee approved up to $220,000 of parish funds for the company to level the bauxite mounds and add grass on top

The new funding is in addition to $4.6 million dollars put up by LAlumina. Ascension Parish leaders say the contract increase will pay for overfilled dirt ponds to be capped and grass planted.

After the approval vote, the finance committee recommended a favorable passage from the Ascension Parish Council.

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