Gilbert officials say the town is essentially in compliance with a new state air quality law that goes into effect next week. But the town still needs to adopt control measures as a consolidated ordinance to be official.
The state law, passed last year to help eliminate pollution and keep federal highway funds coming in, requires municipalities in the Valley to adopt an ordinance that restricts dust launched into the air by leaf blowers, street sweepers and unpaved roadways.
"For the most part, we are in compliance with these things," town spokesman Greg Svelund said.
The law is aimed at lowering the levels of dust measuring 10 microns in diameter or smaller, commonly referred to as PM-10. For comparison, the human hair measures 100 microns in width.
According to town officials, Gilbert already restricts leaf blowers operated by its employees or contractors hired by the town so they don't blow debris into public streets. And blowing debris in to public streets by anyone is already prohibited as part of the town's storm water ordinance.
"Technically, it was already against the law," Svelund said. "We just need to put it all in one document."
An ordinance that pulls all the various town regulations together should be up for Town Council approval April 1, Svelund said.
Technically, the ordinance will not meet the state law's March 31 deadline, but town officials are not concerned.
"We're basically in compliance with all this anyway," Svelund said. "So I don't know that that's going to be an issue."
The new law also requires that the town deal with its unpaved roads and shoulders. Gilbert has come up with a plan to pave those areas over the next 15 years, Svelund said.
According to the American Lung Association, PM-10 pollution can induce heart attacks and strokes, cause lung cancer and trigger asthma attacks. Especially at risk are children, the elderly, diabetics and those with lung diseases.