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  • Frequently Asked Questions - Fugitive Dust

    What is fugitive dust?

    Fugitive dust, or particulate matter (PM) is composed of tiny solid particles or liquid droplets suspended in the air we breathe. Fugitive dust is particulate matter which is not emitted from a stack or vent. Particulate matter is one of the most significant air pollutants in Pima County, and can have serious effects on human health and the environment. For more information is available on Airborne Dust and Your Health (English) and Airborne Dust and Your Health (Spanish).

    Why does PDEQ regulate fugitive dust?

    PDEQ regulates fugitive dust to ensure that the county meets and maintains National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS).

    Who is responsible for controlling fugitive dust?

    Anyone conducting or allowing activities likely to result in excessive amounts of dust must take measures to control fugitive dust, regardless of whether or not a permit is required.  This includes earthmoving, leaf blowing, sand blasting, concrete and brick cutting, off-highway vehicles, and maintenance of dirt roads.

    What other requirements does Pima County have for fugitive dust?

    Pima County Code requires that reasonably necessary precautions be taken to prevent dust from crossing property boundaries.  Additionally, fugitive dust generated outside of the Tohono O'Odham, Pasqua Yaqui and San Xavier Indian Reservations is limited to no more than 20 percent opacity in Tucson and much of Pima County.  To find out more about opacity and how it is measured, Additional Information & Trainingis available.

    Who needs a permit for fugitive dust?

    Anyone in Pima County who is conducting the following activities must obtain a Fugitive Dust Activity Permit from PDEQ:
    • Landstripping and/or earthmoving totaling more than one acre in size
    • Trenching activities totaling more than 300 linear feet
    • Road construction activities totaling more than 50 linear feet
    • Blasting activities

    For more information on permitted activities, review the Pre-Application Guidance.

    How do I apply for a Fugitive Dust Activity Permit and how long will it take?

    Permits may be obtained by applying online, in person, and by mail or fax. For applications and payment received in person, permits may be obtained immediately at the front desk.  For more detailed information on the application process, review application instructions before you Apply for a Fugitive Dust Activity Permit.

    How long until my permit expires?

    Fugitive Dust Activity Permits remain in effect for one year.  At the date of expiration, a new permit will need to be obtained for any remaining work on the project which exceeds the thresholds for when a permit is required.

    Where do I go to apply in person for a Fugitive Dust Activity Permit?

    PDEQ is located at 33 N. Stone Avenue (southwest corner of Stone Avenue & Pennington Street) on the 7th floor.

    Who can I call for more information?

    Contact PDEQ at (520) 724-7400 for additional information, or review Additional Information & Training.

    Does this activity involve a demolition or renovation of an existing structure?

    "Demolition" means the wrecking or taking out of any load-supporting structural member of a facility together with any related handling operations or intentional burning of any facility.
    "Renovation" means altering a facility or one or more facility components in any way, including the stripping or removal of RACM from a facility component. Operations in which load-supporting structural members are wrecked or taken out are demolitions.
    "Regulated asbestos containing material" or "RACM" means (a) Friable asbestos material, (b) Category I nonfriable ACM that has become friable, (c) Category I nonfriable ACM that will be or has been subjected to sanding, grinding, cutting, or abrading, or (d) Category II nonfriable ACM that has a high probability of becoming or has become crumbled, pulverized, or reduced to powder by the forces expected to act on the material in the course of demolition or renovation operations regulated by 40 CFR 61, Subpart M.

    If these activities are involved, see PDEQ Asbestos webpage or contact PDEQ at (520) 724-7400 for permitting and notification requirements.

    Note:  This checklist is for guidance only, and not required for submittal to PDEQ.

    Contact PDEQ at (520) 724-7400 for additional information, or review Additional Information & Training.
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    Department of Environmental Quality

    33 N. Stone Ave., Suite 700
    Tucson, AZ 85701

    Phone: (520) 724-7400
    Fax: (520) 838-7432

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