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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

The FIP Dust Rule- What It Is Intended to Do

NOTE: This content is no longer being updated. The most up to date information can be found in Federal Register Notices and Approved Air Quality Implementation Plans in Region 9.

The FIP dust rule aims to control dust to a reasonable extent on unpaved roads, unpaved parking lots and vacant lots.

  • Owners/operators should be aware that more stringent requirements may apply under local jurisdictions.

FIP rule requirements replace but do not go beyond existing Maricopa County requirements to control dust.

  • The FIP rule replaces broad coverage of unpaved roads, unpaved parking lots and vacant lots under Maricopa County Environmental Services Division's Rule 310.

FIP Rule Flexibility...

At least three or more ways to control dust are available for any sources covered under the rule.

  • As long as the control used gets the job done according to the standards in the rule, owners/operators can choose whichever control method(s) they prefer.

Only heavily trafficked unpaved roads need to be paved or otherwise stabilized.

  • EPA is not requiring the control of dust from every unpaved road. In fact, unpaved roads do not need to be stabilized unless vehicles drive on them 250 times a day or more. This equals about 3 cars every 5 minutes over a 7-hour period or 2 cars every 5 minutes over a 10 and 1/2-hour workday.

Unpaved parking lots with a total of 10 or fewer cars parked on them on any given day are exempt.

  • If, throughout the day, no more than 10 cars enter and park on the lot, nothing is required.

Unpaved parking lots used 35 days a year or less only need to be stabilized on days when over 100 vehicles park on the lot.

This more flexible provision also applies to lots that have 10 or fewer cars parked on them daily but occasionally (35 days a year or less) have larger numbers of vehicles parked on the lot.

FIP Rule Test Methods...

Test methods are needed for owners/operators, EPA or other interested parties to make objective and consistent determinations about a source.

  • A minimum standard and a corresponding test method are used to indicate whether a source poses a dust problem that needs to be controlled. A test method can also be used to determine whether a specific control applied to the source has successfully stabilized the surface as intended.

Individuals who gain experience with FIP rule test methods may soon be able to visually recognize whether a surface is stable without doing the applicable test method.

  • While test methods are available to determine and document FIP rule compliance, it may not always be necessary that they be conducted. As an individual's familiarity with a test method grows over time, it may be apparent based on a visual inspection whether a source needs to be controlled. The test methods may be most important in "borderline" cases or when non-compliance needs to be documented.

More test methods for vacant lots means more chances for sources to comply.

  • While having more than one test method for vacant lots seems complex, EPA is acknowledging that a disturbed vacant lot need not be crusted over in all cases to be considered stable. A lot may have enough vegetation, rocks or large grains/clumps of soil to sufficiently control dust. Recognizing more than one way for vacant lots to be stable helps avoid unnecessary controls on many lots.

The variety of vacant lot test methods merely addresses different surface conditions.

  • On any given vacant lot, only one or two methods may apply. For example, if no vegetation is present, then the vegetation test methods do not apply. And if one test method demonstrates compliance, no other test method needs to be done.

Owners/operators can take steps to simplify FIP rule compliance.

  • If an owner/operator of a disturbed vacant lot does not wish to do anything other than test for a visible crust, he/she may apply water or a chemical dust suppressant to the extent that a sufficient visible crust forms to stabilize the lot. Or, if an owner/operator paves an unpaved parking lot or unpaved road, no test method is necessary to demonstrate compliance.

Vacant lot test method standards control dust to a reasonable extent.

  • Because vacant lots can be sufficiently stable under a variety of conditions, a vacant lot is considered stable under the FIP rule if it meets any one of the following criteria,
    • Sufficient crust;
    • 10% or more rocks or hard-packed dirt clumps covering disturbed areas;
    • 30% coverage by standing (i.e. upright) vegetation;
    • 50% coverage by flat-lying vegetation;
    • The greatest volume of dirt particles in the disturbed soil are 2 millimeters or larger in size;
    • The combined volume of dirt particles and rocks > 1 cm in diameter are large enough for the surface to be stable;
    • 10% coverage by standing vegetation AND the greatest volume of dirt particles in the disturbed soil are 0.25 millimeters or larger in size.

More Information

Please contact Colleen McKaughan, Associate Director, air Division, U.S. EPA Region 9 at (520) 498-0118. Send questions and comments to r9.phoenixdust@epa.gov.

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