Pinal County Improves Air Quality

July 15, 2013

Air quality in Pinal County has improved enough recently to meet federal standards. For four consecutive years, the region has failed to meet regulations for soot and dust particles set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Feed lots in the area have been shut down, which helps eliminate particulate matter, or PM, in the air. 

Director of the county’s Air Quality Control District, Don Gabrielson, said the county still has a long way to go.

“By no means was the EPA’s proposal in regard to PM 2.5 letting Pinal County off the hook, because air pollutants need to be addressed on a pollutant by pollutant basis with respect to a specific map," Gabrielson said.

Pinal County still struggles to meet standards for PM 10, a larger air particle. Possible sources for the pollutants, Gabrielson said, could be construction and feed yards. Both have decreased in the area significantly. 

"Without understanding how much of the problem are we attributing to these various source categories, it's hard to propose a solution, but we're under a timeline to do exactly that," Gabrielson said.

Pinal County must submit a proposal by January 2014.

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