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Asphalt plant near Southbridge and Route 9 cited for dust pollution

Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
Route 9 near Eden Park Gardens

State environmental regulators cited an asphalt plant for releasing excess dust in an area where residents already complain of poor air quality. 

DNREC sent a notice of violation to Contractors Materials last month after an inspection in May revealed dry roads on the company’s property creating dust emissions.

The company is supposed to spray its roads with water to prevent dust. But DNREC said in a Notice of Violations mailed to the company Aug. 19 it noticed the same problem four separate times over the past year—and told the company any further issues would be addressed by enforcement actions. 

The hot mix asphalt plant is located on South Heald Street—near the Southbridge neighborhood of Wilmington and Eden Park Gardens along Route 9. Both are residential communities known for their proximity to industry.  

Residents of Eden Park have said for years that airborne dust lowers their quality of life. Many even indicated in a 2018 survey they would move if the government bought them out.

The neighborhood was the subject of a multi-year state study released in June that found dust levels above state standards. DNREC identified the sources of the dust as concrete, soil and vehicles. 

The agency then worked with local concrete operations, including Contractors Materials, to develop and implement dust mitigation measures.


Sophia Schmidt is a Delaware native. She comes to Delaware Public Media from NPR’s Weekend Edition in Washington, DC, where she produced arts, politics, science and culture interviews. She previously wrote about education and environment for The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, MA. She graduated from Williams College, where she studied environmental policy and biology, and covered environmental events and local renewable energy for the college paper.
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