Proper dust management is critical to the safety and health of gravel roadways — fortunately, road operators have access to a wide range of solutions to subdue fugitive dust.
When it comes to gravel roads, dust is a natural byproduct of use — especially in dry conditions. Road dust is composed of small, coarse particles, and depending upon the size of the particulate matter (PM), is either classified as PM10 or PM2.5. This fugitive dust can end up in surrounding rivers and streams, and poses a visibility hazard for drivers; meanwhile, potholes and washboarding can also result from improper dust control and road maintenance. It’s clear, that stamping out this dust at the source is crucial to maintain road safety and functionality.
Dust Control Products
In their Gravel Roads Construction and Maintenance Guide, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) explains that there are many different dust abatement and stabilization products available in the U.S. today. Chlorides are among the most common, and they work by drawing moisture from the air and keeping the road surface constantly damp. Chlorides can be applied to the road surface or mixed into the gravel itself to provide stability.
Other dust control options include resins, natural clays, and portland cement. Resins work best if mixed into the surface gravel itself to bind particles together and increase stability. Natural clays can likewise be mixed in with gravel to provide cohesion and greater stability and reduce dust — but adding too much clay will make the road unstable during prolonged periods of wet weather.
Portland cement can also be mixed directly into the gravel or soil — while a more expensive option, cement offers long-term stabilization without the need for rehabilitation or reapplication of treatments. Even organic non-petroleum oil (i.e. vegetable oil) can be used for dust reduction. When applied to a well-built built road, these non-petroleum products help seal the road surface and minimize dust.
Apart from these products, there are a wide array of commercial dust control agents on the market, many of which also provide surface stabilization, thereby reducing the loss of fines, preventing washboarding, and preserving skid resistance.
Simplifying the Dust Control Product Selection Process
With so many dust control products to choose from, selecting the right one for your gravel road can seem daunting. Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc.’s industry-leading range of dust control solutions effectively reduce dust and strengthen road surfaces in a cost-efficient, environmentally-friendly manner — making the choice an easy one.
Synthetic fluids like Midwest’s patented EnviroKleen® and EK35® products improve road strength, stabilize surfaces, and keep harmful PM2.5 and PM10 emissions under control. EnviroKleen and EK35 use binder systems that lock fines in place and minimize the release of fugitive particles, reducing airborne dust by up to 80% over a four-year stretch.
Midwest offers the products, solutions, and applications to keep dust down, road surfaces stable, and maintenance costs low.