The Air We Breathe

With any construction site, there is potential for contaminated air particles or particle pollution, also known as particle matter (PM), to travel through the air and potentially contaminate nearby waterways and landscape. Wind most certainly has the capability of picking up construction dust and transporting it away from active construction locations. This activity has negative effects on air and water quality and can cause contamination. Addressing dust control is an important practice to assure that dust during active construction is contained as much as possible. Dust control is crucial for environmental and health safety reasons, thus the EPA has set regulations in place to assure public health will be protected against hazardous air pollutants.

There are several steps that can be taken to prevent dust pollution. While any of these steps can help limit dust pollution, a multi-step approach is more affective at keeping construction sites cleaner and more ecofriendly. Dirt that is dry and exposure to wind elements is more prone to be spread, therefore it can get distributed more easily with construction activity than wet dirt. Using water trucks to moisten dry dirt can help to keep dirt more compacted and heavier, making it less likely to be dispersed. The application of water spray can have a negative effect: if too much water is used than erosion can occur, causing polluted runoff. Contractors must find a balance between spraying affectively and often to prevent erosion and dust particles from leaving the construction site.

An alternative method of dust control could be in the introduction of tackifiers used in seeding which presents as a bright green material applied to loose soil. This product bonds dust to the ground and prevent it from being dispersed into the air. Polymers can also work well in areas where vehicles or heavy equipment stay away from. Keeping heavy machinery away from applicable areas is imperative to prevent a weakened effectivity of the polymers. While silt fence and other barriers may not prevent dust, these products can help to contain it when installed correctly. Once established, vegetation and mulch can be one of the best types of dust control. Establishing vegetation and mulch will eliminate dust control completely by reducing the accessibility of exposed dirt collection by wind. If vegetation cannot be established, stone or gravel can also be an effective dust deterrent for construction roads and entrances.

Dust particles from construction site activities can cause serious health problems and water pollution. In order to assure construction sites are following EPA’s Dust Control Methods, strict guidelines must be followed and documented in accordance with SWPPP. Therefore, construction sites have several options to assure they stay in compliance to keep sites clean and limit air particles from traveling off site. KCI is available to help with all SWPPP, erosion control maintenance, and landscaping needs to prevent dust control on your construction site!




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