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Minimizing Dust

July 19, 2012, 7:17 AM by Austin Hoffman

Minimizing Dust
BRANDON, SD -

The hot, dry weather is having an effect on more than just crops; many rural gravel roads have turned into dust machines.

"From zero to ten, I'd say it's a ten," rural Brandon homeowner Vernon Smith said.

On hot, dry days you don't have to drive very fast to create a dust storm on gravel roads. Smith has lived outside of Brandon for more than 30 years.

"Before we put dust control down, you can't see the car ahead of you. Unfortunately there are people, ladies, who push strollers down the road. My biggest fear is someone is going to get hit and killed," Smith said.

With developments now closing in on him, the road is used frequently. Just a few years ago, 610 vehicles used it on a daily basis. City officials say they won't do anything about it because it's out of city limits.  The county also won't touch it and the township has no money. So, Smith took matters into his own hands.

“I took it upon myself because I couldn't stand it anymore. But I took it upon myself to contact Buskerud Construction and they come out and spray it,” Smith said. 

Crews put down magnesium chloride.  That helps keep the dust on the road instead of in his house. It's a $2,000 to $3,000 cost split between him and about four neighbors. While he says it makes a big difference, cleanup is still needed.

"Every fall the grandsons come out and clean the eve troughs out and it’s just full of mud, plum full of mud," Smith said.

He's been doing it for a few years and says the weather is also having an impact on its effectiveness.

"As dry as it is now, it's already, it only lasts so long.  And right now as dry as it has been, it's starting to get a little dusty. Not as bad compared to where it hasn't been sprayed," Smith said.

Smith would like to see the City of Brandon pave the road because almost all of the traffic is going from one part town to another.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
A word was omitted in a prior version of this story.

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