With A Few Changes, Arizona Agriculture is Managing its Dust

By Rusty Van Leuven with the Arizona Department of Agriculture: The PM10 Agricultural Best Management Practices Program was created in 1999 to allow farms and nurseries a wide range of choice to reduce particulate matter (PM) emissions within an established PM regulated area.  In 2007, Senate Bill 1552 mandated the expansion of the program and outreach materials were distributed with these changes in 2008.  The program has remained unchanged until recently when the EPA made recommendations that the program become more “specific” and “enforceable”.

Due to new legislation in 2015, there have been a couple of small changes to the program in Maricopa County and a whole new program in Pinal County.

  1. The definitions have changed to meet EPA’s “specific” and “enforceable” recommendations. Many of the definitions require additional record keeping if the BMP is not easily visible.  See the new Guide for suggestions on how to implement the BMPs.
  2. The categories have been renamed with some BMPs moved to different categories. Some BMPs have been eliminated and others have been combined. The categories and BMPs were shuffled to better represent a complete harvest year.
  3. Four new BMPs have been created which include Transplanting, Shuttle System/Large Carrier, Stabilization of Soil Prior to Plant Emergence, and Conservation Tillage.
  4. Significant Agricultural Earth Moving Activities Category was created. This is not a mandatory category, but if you are doing any construction work on your farm that disturbs more than 4 inches below the soil surface (not associated with tilling) you must implement 2 BMPs from this category.
  5. Reporting is now voluntary instead of mandatory. A new Best Management Practices General Permit Record Form shall be completed every year by March 31 and to be kept on file at your facility.  The form will need to be submitted to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality upon request only.

As mentioned above, Pinal County growers have a new BMP program as of January 1, 2016.  It is quite different from the Maricopa County program.  There are five categories, a “Super” BMP, mandatory High Dust Forecast BMPs, and a 3-year survey.  If you didn’t attend one of the Pinal County Grower Education meetings, contact Rusty Van Leuven at the Arizona Department of Agriculture to help guide you through this new program.

There are new guides for both Maricopa and Pinal Counties as well as dairies and feedlots.  If you have not receive the new 2015 Guide to Agricultural PM10 Best Management Practices contact Rusty Van Leuven at the Arizona Department of Agriculture at 602.542.3484 or email rvanleuven@azda.gov.

Editor's Note: This article first appeared in the January 2017 issue of Arizona Agriculture. 

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