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EPA Fines Fisher Sand and Gravel $150,000 for dust violations

Release Date: 11/20/2013
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, (415) 947-4149,

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have issued a civil penalty against Fisher Sand and Gravel of $150,000 for failing to comply with dust mitigation regulations at three of its Maricopa County facilities. In addition, the company is required to take steps to minimize the generation of dust at its Phoenix plant.

“Our goal is to prevent airborne dust from harming public health,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We will continue to work closely with local air quality agencies to enforce the rules that protect communities from dust.”

Fisher Sand and Gravel operates numerous sand and gravel facilities in Maricopa County. The violations occurred at their Buckeye, Sun City and Phoenix locations. The enforcement action stems from EPA and Maricopa County Air Quality Department inspections conducted in 2010 at these three facilities that identified 17 violations for failing to perform various measures required to reduce particulate matter emissions, such as:

      Failure to spray water during earthmoving operations
      Failure to remove particulate matter from vehicles leaving the site
      Failure to clean up dirt tracked more than 50 feet beyond the site
      Failure to submit and comply with dust control plans
In addition to the penalty, the company must install water spray bars to control fugitive dust emissions at its Phoenix facility at 3826 S. 28th Street, and submit detailed compliance reports. The action is the last stemming from a series of EPA inspections in 2010 at dust generating facilities in Maricopa County as part of the agency’s initiative to help improve compliance with the area’s air plan.

Particulate matter affects the respiratory system. Particle pollution is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets in the air. When breathed in, these particles can reach the deepest regions of the lungs, and are linked to a variety of significant health problems—ranging from aggravated asthma to premature death in people with heart and lung disease. The elderly, children and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of particulate matter.

The settlement, a consent decree, was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval. The consent decree may be viewed at: