Dust Violations Matrix 101


Air Quality Violations can be costly.  However, they can be avoided - Earthworks continues to keep our clients violation free (sorry for the shameless plug).

Clients ask me all of the time how much a violation would be if they did this...or that.  The answer is not a simple $100.00 or $10,000.00, fines fluctuate due to a number of variables. 

Air Quality Violations (dust violations fall into this category) are assessed by an enforcement officer and listed below are a few of the items that are taken into consideration when assigning a monetary fine.

Items that are given a numerical value (0 being negligible and 4 being extremely high):

*Level of violation 

*Toxicity of Pollutant 

*Risk to Environment - Is the county in attainment or non-attainment for this pollutant?

*Risk to Population - Were you creating dust a crossed the street from a school or hospital?

*Size of the violator -  Net worth of the permit holder - lesser fines for smaller organizations

*Extent of Deviation - Did you have 40 feet of track out or 700 feet of track out?

*Potential for Harm

*Length of Time in Violation - Did you correct immediately or did you correct the following week?

Items that are considered "Adjustments" given a % (+25% to -5%):

*Degree of Willfulness or Negligence

*Degree of Cooperation - Before vs. After Discovery of Violation - correcting a violation after an inspector points it out is still a violation

*History of Non-Compliance - Similar Violations, Most Recent Violations, Number of Prior Violations

There are also a number of other factors that are considered in evaluating a monetary fine such as ability to pay, litigation risks, avoided costs and illegal profits.

I hope this information is useful.  Feedback is welcomed and appreciated.  I realize this information is both invigorating and flashy - thank you for taking the time to read.

Leave a Comment: