Blowing Coal Dust Raises Alarm in Campbell County, WY

Blowing Coal Dust Raises Alarm in Campbell County, WY

In Coal-Utility, Dust Control, Soil-Sement® by Dan Carpenter

The dust from a local coal mine is forcing citizens of Campbell County, Wyoming to think twice before leaving their homes on windy days. Midwest’s line of dust control products could make situations like this a thing of the past.

The community of Campbell, Wyoming, like many across the nation, is relatively small. But its 48,000 citizens offer a rich local culture (as the Campbell County website shows), which includes museums, libraries, farmers markets, and of course, a county fair. Unfortunately, all elderly and young have been asked to, “avoid excessive physical exertion and minimize outdoor activities,” when local wind speeds exceed 30 mph.

While the thought of small-town Wyoming may conjure picturesque images of endless blue skies and crystalline breezes, the air quality in Campbell is rather industrial — so much so that The National Weather Service has issued air quality alerts for blowing coal dust.

Coal in the Distance

Despite its small size, Campbell is actually the, “energy capital of the nation.” Its enormous coal reserves and mining projects have proved to be extremely prolific over the last couple decades, enriching lives and creating jobs both locally and nationally. Lately, that success has come at a cost.

Surrounding coal mines routinely kick up dust and debris, which is blown into the the nearby community. Local mines have dust abatement policies in place, but when winds reach sufficient speeds, airborne particulate matter can be difficult to contain.

Facing an Issue

A recent article in the local newspaper, The Gillette News Record, highlights the issues that locals frequently face. Even fairly tame 25-35 mph wind gusts, such as those that occurred on September 16th, cause The National Weather Service to issue air quality alerts. The alert is to remind mine workers not to raise too much dust.

For children, the elderly, and people with respiratory problems, this means a mandatory shut-in. Coal dust is particularly hazardous to health and can aggravate lungs and lead to chronic health problems with prolonged exposure.

A Simple Solution

As the American Coal Foundation details, coal remains a crucial piece of our global economy, and companies like Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. offer cost-effective and environmentally friendly dust control solutions.

Products like Soil-Sement® economically seal coal piles and eliminate dust on operational roadways. By locking airborne particulate into the surface layer, Soil-Sement shores against air and water intrusion, slows the processes of degradation, and decreases the amount of product lost to the elements.

By tailoring their solutions specifically to the needs of each client, Midwest is able to offer a maximally effective and affordable dust control strategy. Campbell’s coal dust situation is not unique, but by employing innovative solutions, mines everywhere can reduce their local impacts and improve operations.