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Dust from Western Refining covers homes and vehicles in south central El Paso
By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- On Tuesday morning, residents in the south central El Paso woke up to a white, powdery substance that covered their vehicles and homes.
The dust blew into a neighborhood off El Paso Drive on Monday night.
The refinery had shut down south units for cleaning when there was a catalyst - which is the white substance residents are seeing at their homes.
According to Western Refining, the dust is not toxic.
However, residents in the area like Jaime Hernandez are frustrated by the dusty mess it left.
Hernandez had left clothes on the clothesline that he said is now full of the "dust-like" substance.
"You shake it and I can taste it," Hernandez said. "I got some on my sweatshirt and it got in my face."
Jenaive Quinonez saw the dust blowing from the refinery on her way home from work Monday evening.
"I was driving home from work and it was 7:30 and it looked like snow," Quinonez said. "I was thinking, it can't be snowing here in El Paso."
The dust-like substance was so thick, Quinonez said it covered her brothers Camaro like snowflakes.
Some residents said it is leaving a bitter taste in their mouth.
"You taste it, its soury, like acid from the battery, something like that," Hernandez said.
Although Western Refining said the dust is not harmful, residents are still frustrated with the dusty mess.
"You can still taste it, no matter if you wash it, Hernandez said. "That's why I'm thinking about the clothes. Will it go away or damage my clothes?
"I think we have the right to know what it is and if they're going to be doing it often," Quinonez said.
Representatives with Western Refining plan to meet with neighbors this week to explain the situation.
The refinery also plans to assist residents in getting their cars cleaned.