February air violations bring county $700K - East Valley Tribune: News

February air violations bring county $700K

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Posted: Thursday, March 2, 2006 10:24 am | Updated: 5:04 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The Maricopa County Air Quality Department collected more than $700,000 in air pollution violations during February.

“It was a big month for us,” said Holly Ward, department spokeswoman.

Dust was a major target recently because of the particulate-laden “brown cloud” hanging over Maricopa County, she said.

Inspectors who visited a Scott Homes site near Ray and Higley roads in Gilbert found situations such as haul trucks without coverings and no dust control records on hand, according to the department.

The homebuilder signed a settlement agreement to pay $25,533 by March 8.

Steven Lee, general counsel and vice president of the Tempe-based company said they’re in the “process of looking at all the issues at this point in time.”

Lee wouldn’t specify what the company has done to correct the issues, but did say “we’re doing everything we’re supposed to be doing so they don’t occur again. It’s that simple.”

Another East Valley homebuilder, VIP Homes, Mesa, was fined $14,884 for “failure to implement dustcontrol measures, failure to use a water application system before, after and during earth-moving operations and while loading and unloading dirt” and other issues, according to the department.

Since then, VIP Homes bought a personal water truck to hold down dust at sites and is trying to take care of other important issues itself instead of using consulting companies, said Warren Petersen, vice president of sales.

“We spend thousands a year to make sure we control the dust,” Petersen said. “We try to keep it down, but it’s just frustrating.”

In all, two homebuilders, two construction companies, two power plants and a dry cleaning company were cited last month.

Money collected from the violations will go back into community education and the purchase of more inspection equipment, Ward said.

For a complete list of companies paying fines, go to www.maricopa.gov/aq/news-.aspx

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