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Particulate Matter

Particulate matter (PM) comes in many different sizes. PM 10 is particulate matter that is 10 microns in size. The diagram below gives some perspective on just how big, or small, that really is.


Sources of PM 10

Here are several sources of PM 10 that produces a lot of dust in the air.

dirtbikeDirt Bike Riding/Off Roading

Riding dirt bikes, quads, ATV’s, etc. can really kick up the dust.  Not only that but it makes the dirt underneath more susceptible to being picked up and carried off by the wind.

In Gilbert, Ordinance No. 1090  requires the owner of any vacant lot to give written permission to drive on a vacant lot.  Lots should also be dust proofed using water or other dust suppressants to prevent wind blown dust before, during, and after riding.

If you see someone riding on a vacant lot, kicking up dust, please call the Gilbert Police Department at (480)506-6500.  You can also call Maricopa County Air Quality at (602)372-2703 to file a complaint about vacant lots that are unstable.

dirtroadsDirt Roads/Driveways/Parking Lots/Shoulders/Alley


There are many dirt roads and driveways in Gilbert.  If not properly maintained these areas can be a major source of dust.  

These can be dust sources even after it rains!  When mud is tracked from these areas, onto paved roads, when it dries and is run over by vehicles, dust can be kicked up into the air.  This is not only a dust issue but it is also a stormwater issue.  If that mud is washed into the storm drains, it can clog them causing costly repairs and cleaning.  You can see why it is best to maintain these areas in the first place!

Dirt parking lots can also be a major source of dust with cars going back and forth on a regular basis.  Gilbert Ordinance No. 2151  requires that dirt parking lots that are 5 spaces or more or are 2,000 square feet and used in conjunction with industrial or commercial uses be paved or dust-proofed by the owner.  If you see an unpaved parking lot that is very dusty, please call Maricopa County Air Quality at (602)372-2703.



Construction can be a significant source of dust when best management practices are not followed.  If you see a construction site making a lot of dust, call Maricopa County Air Quality Department  at (602)372-2703.





For the most part, growing things reduces wind blown dust.  There are however, a couple of times during the process that it is possible for windblown dust to occur.

If you see an agricultural area making excessive amounts of dust, please call the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) at (602)771-2300.  If dust is coming from livestock activities (dairy’s or horse activity), please call Maricopa County Air Quality at (602)372-2703.

vacantlotsVacant Lots


Vacant lots can also be a source of dust, especially if they are disturbed.  It is the owner’s responsibility to make sure that their property is properly dust proofed.  

Town of Gilbert Ordinance No 1090  sets down requirements for motorized vehicle use on vacant lots and Maricopa County Rule 310.01 regulates vacant lot stability.

If you see a vacant lot that is producing a lot of wind blown dust, please call Maricopa County Air Quality at (602)372-2703.



 Leaf Blowers

Leaf blowers can be a great tool for keeping your yard clean but they can also be a source of a air pollution.  When using a leaf blower, follow a couple of simple tips: 


  • Don’t blow leaves and debris into the street and just leave it there, cars running over the debris can crush it and cause it to go into the ambient air as a source of pollution. 
  • Don’t use leaf blowers on unstable surfaces like dirt, they can really kick up the dust! 
  • Switch that leaf blower from blow to vacuum and suck up the landscape debris into a bag.  This way you don’t have to scoop it up and bag it in your trash container.
  • Don’t use leaf blowers on High Pollution Advisory days.