Spokane Clean Air consults during a source inspection.

Dust Control

Requirements for Controlling Dust

If left uncontrolled, dust can be a health hazard and a public nuisance. When inhaled, fine particles travel deep into the lungs, increasing breathing problems, damaging lung tissue and aggravating existing health problems. This is why we require the use of control techniques to prevent and minimize the release of dust emissions.

There are many operations and activities that can create excessive dust emissions, including:

  • construction, rock crushing, grinding
  • site preparation, land clearing, excavating
  • demolition
  • grading, roadwork, hauling
  • concrete cutting, railroad ballast, masonry work
  • grain processing
  • baseball fields, off-road recreation, equestrian training, parking lots

If you work in any of these or related fields, please review and follow the regulations for minimizing dust emissions from your operations. If you have any questions, please contact us for assistance.

What are the requirements for controlling dust?

SRCAA Regulation I, Article VI, Section 6.05 specifies that:

  • particulate matter emissions must be minimized using every reasonable precaution depositing particulate matter onto the property of others is prohibited
  • precautions must be taken to remove dirt and mud from equipment and vehicles before movement onto paved roads
  • dirt and mud tracked onto paved roads must be promptly removed
  • dust emissions must not create a nuisance

How can I control dust?

Depending on the situation, one or more of the following strategies is recommended to minimize dust emissions:

  • use water or chemical dust suppressants
  • minimize activities during periods of high winds
  • use covered chutes, covered containers, or collection and control equipment when handling, transferring, and/or storing dusty material
  • minimize free fall distances for dusty materials
  • vegetate or mulch dusty areas
  • maintain adequate freeboard and cover loads when transporting dusty materials
  • keep paved surfaces clean
  • restrict access or limit vehicle speeds on unpaved areas to 15 miles per hour
  • limit the amount graded at any one time

How can I minimize tracking?

When dirt, mud and debris is tracked onto paved roadways, it dries up and is resuspended in the air by passing motorists, causing dust emissions. The following strategies are recommended to minimize tracking:

  • pave or gravel unpaved traveled surfaces
  • pave or install gravel buffer areas at exits
  • clean vehicle tires and undercarriages before traveling on paved roads (wash stations)
  • promptly clean up material that has been tracked onto paved roadways (wet flush/spray off, street sweep/vacuum)

Compliance and Enforcement of Dust Emissions

Our inspectors respond to citizen complaints about excessive dust. Inspectors conduct surveillance throughout the county, and perform on-the-spot inspections if dust problems are observed. Documented violations may result in formal enforcement action, including civil penalties.

It is your responsibility to be aware of all dust control regulations before you begin activities that could generate dust. The best way to avoid enforement action due to excessive dust emissions is to:

  • implement adequate control measures (examples above)
  • regularly monitor your operations
  • make sure all employees and contractors understand the dust control requirements and measures at your location(s)
  • evaluate your dust control procedures to identify additional issues that may develop as the project progresses
  • call a Spokane Clean Air inspector to ask any questions you may have while developing your dust control plan