Rosita Leeber says she understands the need for a new sewer line in Mabscott.

“It’s a needed project,” she said. “I just never imagined it was going to cause so many problems to me and many of my neighbors.”

The problems Leeber claims include eye irritation, property damage and dust-covered homes.

“I had to go to the emergency room because of abrasions on my eyes,” Leeber said.

She claims those abrasions came from rock dust created by the blasting and drilling conducted for the project.

“The dust is just like microscopic glass floating around in the air,” Leeber said. “I can’t even walk outside in my yard now due to all of this dust.”

Leeber said the blasting has been so severe it has shaken her home’s foundation and literally knocked pictures off the walls.

“The workers on this project all wear dust masks, but we are left at their mercy,” she said.

Leeber lives on Frontier Street just across the road from where work is currently taking place.

“One of my neighbor’s ceiling fell in due to this blasting and I think many of us have dust damage to our homes,” she said. “My home was cleaned three months ago and now it’s covered with dust, just like many others in this area.”

The company doing the work, Pipe Plus of St. Albans, has been working on the project about a year.

“We have three more months’ worth of work on this job,” said Wayne Kee, vice president of Pipe Plus. “These are the first major complaints I have been aware of since we started this work.”

Kee said he is looking into the allegations.

“We are currently working on getting some additional parts from one of our manufacturers of our drilling equipment to better control the dust,” Kee said. “It’s a system that utilizes water spraying to keep the dust down.”

Kee said the Mabscott job is a tough one with mostly rock.

“The deeper we have drilled, the worse the rock is getting,” he said. “There is 20 to 25 feet of mostly rock.”

Kee said the company has agreed to listen to complaints from residents and has agreed to pay Leeber’s medical bills regarding her eye abrasions.

“We don’t want to see anyone having any kind of health issues, and this is the first major complaint we have had since the project began months ago,” he said.

Kee said the company also alerts residents when blasting is about to occur.

“We use an air horn with three short warning sounds prior to any blasting,” he explained. “Then we sound a long all clear after the blasting is completed.”

— E-mail: fpace@register-herald.com

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