Utah Farmers Demand Better Dust Control for Local Roads

In Dust Control, EK35®, EnviroKleen® by Frank Elswick

Fed up with the plumes of dust coating their cars, equipment, and homes, farmers and residents in Utah are demanding stricter regulations on air quality.

Excess dust can be a nuisance for communities that rely on unpaved roads, but for farmers, it can threaten crops and profits. A group of fruit farmers in southern Utah County recently voiced their concerns about airborne dust to local government officials and are demanding more stringent dust control standards.

Dust-Covered Plants, Lost Profits

As dust collects in the air surrounding a farm, it can coat the surface of all types of produce, leaving a film of dirt that is difficult to remove. It can also deter insects that usually protect the produce from pests like dust mites, which soon arrive in droves if the dust keeps these other insects away.

Infestations aside, research indicates that dust, sand, and other fugitive particles can bury and suppress seedlings, increase the risk of drought, and delay plant growth. These challenges can cost the average farmer thousands of dollars in labor and resources.

And it’s not just the farmers who are complaining — citizens of Benjamin in southern Utah County have complained about the issue for years, alleging that it has lowered property values and created a public health hazard.

A Road to Stronger Regulations

These concerns spurred Utah County commissioners to unanimously vote in favor of a proposed ordinance that would strengthen dust control standards and requirements, according to Utah’s Daily Herald. The ordinance would stipulate that any gravel pit extraction operations must have a dust suppression plan approved by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality. They must also develop a Stormwater Pollution Protection Plan, since dust can settle into and negatively impact bodies of water.

Acknowledging the complaints of farmers and citizens, this ordinance would place stricter restrictions on gravel pits in close proximity to fruit orchards and residences. If an extraction operation is within one mile of land dedicated to farm or communal use, they must restrict their hours of operation to between 7:00 AM and 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday, adhere to noise restrictions, and alter nearby landscapes so that they block dust particles from floating into neighboring areas.

Busting Dust

In order to prevent dust from affecting the community and its farmers, municipalities like Utah County need to invest in a dust control program that’s proven to be effective in the long-term. With over four decades of experience in the industry, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has the knowledge and expertise needed to evaluate and alleviate even the most severe industrial dust-related issues — and build precisely this type of program.

We combine patented, industry-leading dust control products like EK35® and EnviroKleen® with custom managed application programs specifically tailored to your company or municipality’s needs and environmental conditions. Non-toxic, non-corrosive, and environmentally friendly, our products settle into the surface of a road or open area and trap fugitive dust particles within it, preventing future emissions. Trusted by mines, quarries, and townships around the world, Midwest can leverage these products to build a customized program designed to meet all of your dust control needs.

Frank is the sales unit manager of Midwest's road construction and natural paving markets.