Vacant Lots / Unpaved Areas
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Vacant Lots / Unpaved Areas

Those areas which do not require a dust control permit or a dust control plan fall under Maricopa County Air Quality Rule 310.01. The purpose of this rule is to limit the emission of particulate matter (dust) from open areas, thus protecting the public health.

Rule 310.01 addresses open areas with seven sections:

number1_bulletVehicle Use in Open Areas and Vacant Lots (Rule 310.01, section 302.4).

This section of the rule addresses the use of unauthorized motor vehicles or off-road vehicles which are creating fugitive dust emissions from an open area or vacant lot. If the area is of sufficient size (0.10 acre) and is being sufficiently disturbed by vehicles (500 square feet disturbed or more), then the property owner is required to use control measures to limit the emission of dust. The new Maricopa County Ordinances P-27 and P-28 require that the individual vehicle owner is also responsible to know which property is available for vehicle access. Both the rules and ordinances work together to close the loopholes in the regulations so we can effectively protect the public health from excess dust emissions. (see P-27 Vehicle Parking on Vacant Lots and P-28 Off-Road Vehicle Use on Vacant Lots)

Control measures available to property owners include preventing vehicle access by installing barriers or fences. No trespassing signs or postings are also considered a control measure. Areas that have been disturbed by motor vehicles or off-road vehicles can be restabilized by surface gravel, chemicals (such as dust suppressants), or organic (such as vegetative cover) means. See Trespass Laws for statutes regarding illegal trespass on a property.

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number2_bulletOpen Areas and Vacant Lots (Rule 310.01, section 302.5)

This section concerns open areas or vacant lots which have a disturbed area larger than 500 square feet (a disturbed area is where the surface earth has been moved, uncovered, or modified from its native condition). If such areas remain unused and undeveloped for more than 15 days then the owner and/or operator must use a control measure to help limit the emission of dust from the area.

Control measures for this section includes establishing a vegetative ground cover (such as shrubs and grasses), applying dust suppressants, or applying surface gravel. The owner/operator could also stabilize and restore all disturbed areas so they are similar to adjacent or nearby undisturbed native conditions.

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number3_bulletUnpaved Parking Lots (Rule 310.01, section 302.6):

This section concerns unpaved parking lots where vehicles are parked, maneuvered, or stored. Control measures include: paving; applying dust suppressants; or applying and maintaining surface gravel. For lots that are used 35 or fewer days per year the control measure is required during the period the lot is utilized for vehicle parking.

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number4_bulletUnpaved Roadways (including Alleys) (Rule 310.01, section 302.7):

This section applies to owners of unpaved roadways. The road must have traffic of more than 150 vehicles per day.

If the unpaved roadway exceeds the allowable traffic limit, then the owner and/or operator shall be subject to stabilization requirements. Stabilization measures include: paving, applying dust suppressants (such as chemical palliatives), or applying surface gravel.

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number5_bulletLivestock Activities (Rule 310.01, section 302.8):

This section applies to any activity directly related to feeding animals, displaying animals, racing animals, exercising animals and/or for any other such activity, including but not limited to livestock arenas, horse arenas and feed lots. Such activities shall not exceed 20% dust opacity levels. To prevent the excessive emissions of fugitive dust, the owner and/or operator shall implement one of the following control measures: dust suppressants (water or dust palliative), surface gravel, or shrubs and/or trees within 50 feet of animal pens, corrals and arenas.

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number6_bulletErosion-Caused Deposition of Bulk Materials onto Paved Surfaces (Rule 310.01, section 302.9):

The definition of bulk material is any material such as (but not limited to) earth, rock, sand, mud, construction debris, trash, feeds, or fertilizers that are capable of producing fugitive dust. If an erosion event causes bulk materials to be deposited onto a paved road or parking lot then the owner/operator of the property which contained the bulk material shall implement a control measure. Control measures include removing the material from the paved surfaces and disposing of the materials in such a way that another source of fugitive dust is not created. Control measures have been effectively implemented when fugitive dust emissions do not exceed 20% opacity.

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number7_bulletEasements, Rights-of-Way, and Access Roads for Utilities (Transmission of Electricity, Natural Gas, Oil, Water, and Gas) (Rule 310.01, section 302.10):

If an owner/operator allows more than 150 vehicles per day to use an easement, right-of-way, or access road, then appropriate control measures shall be implemented. Control measures include paving, applying dust suppressants (other than water), or applying surface gravel to the disturbed area or install locked gates at the entry points.

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Dust Control Methods:

The following general methods of dust control are appropriate, depending upon the circumstance:

  • Prevent motor vehicle and/or off-road vehicle trespassing, parking, and/or access, by installing barriers, curbs, fences, gates, posts, signs, shrubs, trees, or other effective means.
  • Uniformly apply and maintain surface gravel over the disturbed area.
  • Dust suppressants:
    • Water.
    • Dust palliatives, chemical stabilizers which binds with the soil to reduce fugitive dust emissions.
    • Organic stabilizers.
  • Vegetative ground cover. Examples include grass, shrubs, trees, vines, or vegetative debris that is not subject to movement by wind.
  • Paving the disturbed surface with asphalt, concrete, or other similar material.
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Criminal Trespass Laws:

A listing of the Arizona Revised Statutes pertaining to trespassing. (A.R.S. §§ 13-1502; 13-1503; 13-1504; 13-1603) Note: if trespassers are the source of fugitive dust emissions on a vacant lot or open area, owner/operators of such an area are required to implement control measures. Owner/operators are then encouraged to notify local law enforcement agencies if the criminal activity continues to occur.

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To report violations:

Use the On-Line Complaint form: click here
or call (602) 372-2703
8:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday
(Voice mail is available after business hours)