MILLIS, MASS. (WHDH) - “It’s unbelievable, there are days where I can’t walk down the road, without my eyes being full of sand.”
Christopher Gray doesn’t live anywhere near the beach.
But his Millis yard is coated with sand.
“It’s definitely some kind of sand, silica,” Christopher says.
It’s on his cars.
“It’s just terrible,” he says.
It’s on his garage roof.
“You can see, it’s just sand,” Chris says.
And all over his son’s toys.
Residents say it’s coming from a sand and gravel company.
The pit used to be surrounded by hundreds of trees.
But after the company cut many of them down the sand started blowing into the neighborhood.
“There was a giant machine in the backyard, cutting trees, picking them up and knocking them over. Right along our fence line,” says Chris.
Another neighbor, Rusty Cushman, was also concerned about the trees coming down.
“I hated it,” says Rusty
Here’s a satellite image of the gravel pit before the trees were cut down.
This is the street where Chris and Rusty live.
The most recent satellite photos show large areas of trees missing from around the perimeter of the gravel pit.
“That never happened before. There was always that big break of trees and forest between us and their mining operation,” says Chris
“I don’t think it’s healthy to be breathing that,” says Rusty
7 Investigates reached out to the company, the town of Millis and the state.
We wanted to know what was in the fine sand but no one could tell us.
“It’s been a disaster. I’m lucky enough to have a home to have a place to live but to also not feel safe in your backyard, to worry every time you come outside because you’re afraid of what you’re breathing. When you look at this dust on the ground you know it’s in the air,” says Chris.
In a statement to 7 Investigates, the gravel pit owners say their company “fully supports and is in full compliance with all safety, environmental and other applicable laws”
They go on to explain they take several steps – like using “a water truck, truck washing procedures, street sweepers, sprinklers” to “create at most minimal/negligible airborne particulates.”
But neighbors still worry about what might be in the air they’re breathing.
“How much of it’s in my lungs, how much of it’s in my son’s lungs, and what is that dust?” asks Chris.
“We learn to live with it, but we don’t like it and we want it to stop,” says Rusty
We contacted town and state officials to see what can be done. So far no one has told us they will address the neighbors’ concerns.
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