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EPA settles dust violations with Phoenix construction company for $53,000

Release Date: 5/5/2005
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today settled with a Phoenix construction company for $53,000 for Clean Air Act violations.

Pulice Construction, Inc. allegedly failed to comply with Maricopa County rules that require contractors to use a suitable control device to remove dirt from vehicle tires exiting construction sites. The company also allegedly failed to immediately clean up dust tracked out 50 feet beyond the site.

"Dust in the air is a serious health threat, especially to children, older people, and those with respiratory illnesses," said Deborah Jordan, the EPA's Air Division director for the Pacific Southwest region. "There's no excuse for failing to comply with dust control regulations."

Maricopa County inspectors discovered the violations during three inspections in October and November 2003 and March 2004 at roadway construction projects in the Phoenix area.

Maricopa County's particulate air pollution, which includes dust and soot, exceeds the national health standard for PM-10. The EPA has classified the county as a serious non-attainment area for particulate matter. Under the federal Clean Air Act, areas failing to meet air quality standards must adopt control measures to reduce dust and soot in the air. The dust control measures are part of the state' s clean air plan.

Particulate matter, including dust, affects the respiratory system and can cause damage to lung tissue and premature death. The elderly, children and people with chronic lung disease, influenza, or asthma are especially sensitive to high levels of particulate matter.

One of the primary causes of particulate matter in the Phoenix area is wind blown dust from construction and home development sites, highway construction, sand and gravel facilities, unpaved parking lots and roads, disturbed vacant lands, agricultural fields,and other stationary sources.