Frequently Asked Questions about Dust
Dust source include the natural environment and those created by human activities. On windy days, the consequences of human activities can be significant. Human activities tend to occur in more populated areas, and any dust they create can be more likely to affect public health. Nobody is planning to pave the desert, but we do need to address how human-created sources may contribute to overall levels of dust in the air.
If I have a windblown dust complaint whom should I contact?
Contact your local and/or county governments first to see if ordinances are in place for dust control. Contact the New Mexico Environment Department at 1-800-224-7009 so your complaint can be documented.
How does the government regulate dust?
Historically, the State has seen the issue of dust as a local issue that should be regulated on the local level. The State is currently soliciting input from stakeholders and the public as to whether or not a statewide dust regulation is necessary or desired.
Are there environmentally safe dust control products?
Yes, the New Mexico Environment Department has a Fugitive Dust Control Techniques webpage that lists products that are available and several of those products are environmentally safe.
Does the state have any kind of information available on dust and its health effects?
Yes, the New Mexico Environment Department has information available on the Health Effects webpage. The New Mexico Environment Department is also in the process in installing real-time monitoring equipment in certain counties in the state that will inform people of current dust concentrations.
Many dust storms are regional. How can we control dust coming from other locations?
Much of New Mexico is the desert and many of the dust storms that we see are regional. The New Mexico Environment Department is currently participating in a regional group of western states to look at the issues surrounding these regional dust storms throughout the west.
Are there other cost effective dust control products besides water?
The Fugitive Dust Control Techniques webpage lists many alternatives to water as a means of dust control.
What control techniques are the agricultural industry using to reduce windblown dust?
Agricultural operations follow the conservation practices outlined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. These practices can be found on the Natural Resources web site at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/Standards/nhcp.html.
Is dust handled as a local nuisance issue or are there legal actions I can take through the state?
There are no legal measures currently in place on the state level for the issue of dust. However, there are several local communities that have dust control ordinances. Before contacting the New Mexico Environment Department regarding a dust complaint, call your local and/or county governments to see if local ordinances are in place.