Perhaps it was an anomaly, destined to happen only once to an unlucky part of town. But anomaly or not, the mess on the south side of Brookfield caused by the Material Services quarry in mid-December is serious and needs serious attention?”attention from not only the company that made the mess, but from the Village of Brookfield and other municipalities that border the McCook quarry.

First, the quarry should be responsible for footing the bill to clean the homes and properties of Brookfield affected by release of a cloud of limestone dust on Dec. 15, 2005. The dust covered homes, streets, yards?”as if a mini-volcano had deposited ash on the surrounding landscape.

Frankly, we’re not concerned about the cost to Material Services. They say they have been and will continue to be a good neighbor. Good neighbors clean up their messes, intended or not. The clean-up might end up costing thousands of dollars. If so, pay up.

Material Services also ought not to wait for calls to their hotline to respond. They should proactively get out into the neighborhood and go door to door?”leaving information about what they propose to do about the situation. Not everyone knows where to turn; not everyone speaks English. The quarry needs to reach those people, too.

But the quarry may not be as sanguine about footing the bill if it does not get a nudge from the village. We think it should be more of a shove.

Village President Michael Garvey explained on more than one occasion Monday night that the village has only so much jurisdiction over quarry operations. That may be technically true. But no village ever got hurt by demanding action from a company that is polluting its town with the byproduct of its operations. And Garvey ought make use of the bully pulpit he was elected to.

The dust from December is only part of the issue. That kind of pollution is visible. But there is the ongoing nuisance of blasting, that residents say shakes the ground and cracks foundations, driveways and walls of homes.

Then there’s the rumble of trucks entering and leaving the quarry on 47th Street. Anyone living nearby can attest to the noise and dust. Anyone following a truck loaded with stone can attest to the car paint chips.

What Garvey and the rest of the village board have the chance to do is to use this event as a way to get the attention of the quarry and have them realize their actions have a direct impact on the lives of people living in Brookfield.

We feel, in fact, that Brookfield can do something to help “regulate” the quarry. It can more robustly crack down on trucks on 47th Street that appear to be overladen with stone. It can monitor air quality in its own neighborhoods to show proof, if necessary, that dust is a growing concern.

And the village can, and should, work with other municipalities to make sure all residents near the quarry are protected from a future event like this. If one village can’t put pressure on the quarry, maybe four?”Brookfield, Lyons, McCook and Countryside?”can. The wind doesn’t just blow in one direction.