Air Quality & Fugitive Dusts
Clean Air Hamilton has identified fugitive dusts, including road dusts, as a significant source of airborne particulate matter in Hamilton. Airborne particulates are often divided into two groups based on their health impacts: PM10 are particles that have diameters less than 10 microns; and PM2.5 are particles that have diameters less than 2.5 microns. Larger particles in the PM10 range when inhaled into the lungs reach the upper respiratory tract while PM2.5 (i.e., the smaller particles in the PM10 fraction) are inhaled deep into the lungs. The smallest particles in the PM2.5 fraction are called "ultrafines" and these tiny particles (less than 0.1 micron) are readily absorbed into cells and reach the bloodstream.
Epidemiological studies conducted in cities around the world have demonstrated clearly and consistently that exposure to PM10 and PM2.5 can increase the risk of acute health impacts such as premature deaths and hospital admissions and chronic health impacts such as respiratory problems, heart disease and lung cancer.
What are Fugitive Dusts?
Fugitive dusts are dusts that arise from non-point sources; fugitive dusts include road dusts, agricultural dusts, dusts that arise from materials handling, construction operations, outdoor storage piles, etc. The compositions of fugitive dusts and road dusts vary depending upon the materials used or stored, adjacent land uses, local emission sources and traffic loads. Road dusts consist of particulate matter from vehicle exhausts, tire wear, pavement wear, brake wear, etc.; road dusts can result from track-out from construction sites and industrial sites (particularly from unpaved roads), blow-off from construction sites, and the deposition of materials from the Air, including industrial particulates and vehicle emissions. Road dusts can contain elevated levels of toxic substances such as chromium, manganese and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
Dust Control
Fugitive dust control is an important responsibility at all industrial sites, particularly industries that handle or store large amounts of particulate-containing materials, such as bulk storage facilities and the aggregate industry. On-site management of soils and dusts on the site has a direct influence on the amount of dusts generated and dispersed into the Air; unpaved roads on-site can result in the tracking of significant amounts of materials onto roadways. Implementation of dust control best practices at industrial sites can significantly reduce and almost prevent dusts and soils from becoming Air borne or from being tracked-out. On the other hand, a lack of attention to dust generation problems, particularly on sites with open storage plies and unpaved roads can result in severe dust problems, such as a "dust bowl" effect.
Fugitive Emissions Abatement Workshop (2006)
In December 2006, a Fugitive Emissions Workshop was held to provide local business owners and site operators with information regarding fugitive dusts and the associated health and environmental impacts. Organizers of the workshop included the Ministry of the Environment (West Central Region), The City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Port Authority, and Clean Air Hamilton. The morning workshop was well attended with over 50 attendees, presenters and local dust abatement service providers.
Below are some of the presentations from the Workshop:
Brian McCarry, McMaster University, Clean Air Hamilton
Hamilton Fugitive Dust Workshop: Overview
Denis Corr, Rotek Environmental Inc., McMaster University
Mobile Air Monitoring
Bruce Newbold, McMaster University Institute of Environment & Health
Hamilton Fugitive Dust Workshop: Overview
Tim Webb, Ministry of the Environment
Approaches to Managing Industrial Fugitive Dusts
Particulate Matter-Compliant Street Sweepers Purchase (2006)
Regular street sweeping of roadways and streets can reduce the amounts of dusts on the road, thereby reducing the impacts of dusts along and near roadways. The effectiveness of the sweeping equipment, the technology used in the sweeper, and the frequency of sweeping have a direct influence on the amounts and size ranges of soils and dusts collected. The more efficient the collection of particulate material, particularly the finer fractions, the less will be available for dispersion into the Air due to traffic.
In 2005, the City of Toronto, in partnership with the City of Hamilton, tested the performance of a number of street sweeping vehicles and their abilities to remove particulate matter from roads efficiently. The performance tests were validated by ETV Canada. As a result of these tests, the City of Hamilton purchased 15 new regenerative-Air street sweepers. These sweepers had obtained the highest performance test scores in removing particulate matter and in other requirements.
Street Cleaning Study (1999)
In 1999, a street cleaning study was conducted jointly by the Ontario Ministry of Environment, the City of Hamilton, McMaster University, industry partners and Clean Air Hamilton to examine the impact of street cleaning on Air particulate levels in an industrial area of Hamilton, PM10 levels were measured in real time using samplers located upwind and downwind of the road on which the sweeping
The street sweeping study tested four modes of street cleaning over six weeks on the streets of Wentworth, Barton, Sherman and Ottawa in Hamilton. The research team concluded that when mechanical sweeping, vacuuming and road flushing were used together, Air levels of PM10 in the immediate vicinity were reduced.

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