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Sand gets in your eyes courtesy City of Manteca

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POSTED October 3, 2013 11:40 p.m.

The big muddy is back.

Just ask the Spooner family.

Thanks to wind-whipped dirt just more than a half mile away from City of Manteca property they are being forced to daily clean their swimming pool that they refer to as the sand lagoon, close all windows and enjoy almost daily mini-dust storms. As a result their PG&E bill is climbing as they try to live among the dust drifting in  from city land on Daniels Street across from Big League Dreams where private contractors have been allowed to move dirt in and out for a project elsewhere.

The Spooners aren’t alone. At least a half dozen residents have voiced their displeasure. The city has said the private contractor is supposed to have a water truck on site when winds pick up. There have been times when the city has sent their own water truck to the site when the private firm didn’t respond fast enough.

That’s no comfort for people who have expensive swimming pool filters and are in a losing battle to keep their homes clean and breathable.

Just 12 years ago when the city had no stake in the dust game,  elected leaders came down on developers and passed an emergency ordinance declaring airborne dust and dirt a public nuisance and health problem. The bottom line required developers to prevent any dust or dirt from their properties they were building homes on from being visible in the air.

The situation got so bad in neighborhoods along the Airport Way that many swimming pools had as much of six inches of mud on the bottom, swimming pool cleaning equipment was damaged, there was a small epidemic of children suffering from allergies and bloody noses, pressure washers were used to clean exterior walls, and often ruined meals that were covered with a layer of dirt.

Manteca residents such as the Spooner family wonder why the city isn’t following the rules they imposed on the private sector when it comes to dust control on municipal property.

The dust and dirt woes were already the norm before Thursday’s winds  gusted up to speeds of 10 mph. That, by the way, is about double the wind speed that the city required private developers to automatically roll out their water trucks to perform dust and dirt control.

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