Gravel road dust control contributes to safety

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sponsored by: Department of Land Use and Transportation

Dust abatement product applicationWashington County's Department of Land Use & Transportation plans to apply dust control treatment on some rural gravel roads over the next few weeks. Only areas where washboarded surfaces present particular driving issues will be treated.

Dust control treatment helps to reduce traffic-generated dust on rural gravel roads and, more importantly, contributes to traffic safety. Dust control treatment increases surface stability and thus motorist safety on curves and hills where traffic causes rough road surfaces.

Although dust control treatment has been referred to as "dust oil," it is not a petroleum product. It is an environmentally safe by-product from pulp mills. Dust control treatment reduces air-borne dust which can contaminate air and water.

Rural residents can choose to pay for dust control on their county-maintained gravel roads. They must first get a no-cost dust control permit from the county. The permit allows staff to coordinate county road grading with the private contractor's application of the dust control material. The permit also ensures that only environmentally safe products are used and applied appropriately.

Motorists can help reduce traffic-generated dust by driving more slowly on gravel roads. Excessive speed increases dust which can damage nearby crops. Driving too fast on gravel also causes washboarding and damages the road surface, increasing the taxpayers' costs for maintenance.

For more information, contact the Operations and Maintenance Division at 503-846-ROAD (846-7623) or

Washington County is committed to planning, building and maintaining a great transportation system, ensuring the safety of all roadway users, and to operating the county roadway system in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible manner.

Media Contact:

Melissa De Lyser, Communications Coordinator