Coal Dust Study Clears the Air for Delta

In Coal Car-Topping System®, Coal-Utility, Dust Control by Jim Silva

After an intensive one year study, Delta, British Columbia’s dust levels are in the clear, but what else should be done to ensure residents continue to breathe easy?

The Good News for Delta

The Delta Optimist reports positive results from the municipality’s closely monitored, year-long dust study, in which samples were taken at five different locations every few months. Findings so far reveal the numbers were within the set limits for air particulate — undoubtedly good news.

Furthermore, the majority of found particles were above 10 microns in size, meaning that they’re less likely to impact human health (whereas particles smaller in size are able to enter the human respiratory system). As the study draws to a close, it’s time to take stock of the findings and consider the Delta community’s next move.

While dust particle levels were highest next to rail tracks used for coal transportation, the results in these areas still didn’t exceed British Columbia’s Air Quality Guidelines. Coal produces dust primarily while being loaded into the cars and while in transport. The Optimist states that the Westshore facility is already using a $7.3 million irrigation system to control dust at their terminal. In addition to this effort, Midwest is providing latest technology and experience to control dust and coal fines emissions from coal during transport.

Midwest Offers Better Alternatives

Midwest Industrial Supply’s Coal Car-Topping System® is a permanently installed spray system that extends over railcars and coats the coal with Soil-Sement Engineered Formula® CCT. The solution penetrates and seals the surface of the load, preventing particles from escaping as the car moves while fully protecting the coal from the elements. But Soil-Sement does not affect the BTU of coal and has no VOCs.

This environmentally-sound dust suppressant spray system is ideal for coal handling facilities. The topping system sprays the cars as they are loaded, adjusting to the specific profile of each car and its contents.

Soil-Sement has been tested and verified by Simpson Weather Associates Laboratory for weatherability and Southern Company for burnability. It was also tested and certified by the California Air Resources Board, the US EPA, and the Canada Environmental Technology Verification programs. Soil-Sement has been officially approved for use in the Powder River Basin meeting the requirements of the BNSF tariff.

So it seems that managing and transporting coal doesn’t need to be such a dusty business. The tools are available to ensure the air is as pure as possible.

(Image credit: Joshua Schnable/flickr)

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.