Pecan processing facility causes noise concerns in Far East El Paso community

Residents in an east El Paso neighborhood said they never heard any noise complaints until a pecan processing facility moved into a building directly behind their neighborhood. Credit: CBS4

Some people in a Far East El Paso community are concerned, as they say a nearby pecan processing facility is disrupting their neighborhood with loud noise.

The neighborhood lies right off Rojas Drive and is right next to an industrial zone.

People who live there tell CBS4 they never had any noise complaints until the pecan processing facility moved into the building directly behind the neighborhood.

Now they are turning to the city for answers.

"Because this machine is right here, [the sound] travels even further and louder at nighttime," said resident Arturo Valle.

The South Georgia Pecan Company opened the processing plant on Don Haskins Street in February 2017.

It's just a stone's throw away from the houses.

Valle told CBS4 the noise was never a problem until now.

"We've been here for 14 years now since 2003 and it's never been an issue," he said.

According to the city of El Paso, noise readings were held on several occasions.

Those took place on February 23, March 7, and March 23.

The first reading on February 23 measured 96.6 and 80.4 decibels.

After the initial reading, the owner of the plant made adjustments, like installing several silencers and moving some of the machinery indoors.

The final ambient noise reading on March 23 measured 63.8 and 66.5 decibels.

But residents are still concerned with the noise.

"Even though they've done these adjustments it's still way high," Valle said.

This week, community members got to meet with the owner of the plant, along with city leaders, to voice their concerns.

"We discovered that the property owner was up to code, so there wasn't a whole lot that the city of El Paso could do," said District 6 City Rep. Claudia Ordaz.

"The neighbors just wanted to know that the proper channels had been followed," said Jeff Worn, who owns the plant.

But event after the meeting, there were still some questions from neighbors about planning and zoning laws in the area.

"So we're going to have a meeting with one of our legal attorneys to see moving forward what we can do," Ordaz said.

Another thing Ordaz told CBS4 she is looking into is working with the owner of the property itself to try to install a noise wall to hopefully bring down noise levels even more.

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