Fugitive Dust Control Plan

A Fugitive Dust Control Plan Case Study

In Dust Control, Guided Self Apply Dust Control, Industrial Facilities by Bob Vitale

This custom fugitive dust control plan offered 26% year-over-year savings

There is a much more scientific way of approaching the challenge of designing an effective fugitive dust control plan than most companies in the dust control industry give credit for. 

Midwest has been creating custom, comprehensive dust control plans for decades, for clients in a range of industries. This experience informs everything we do. It also means we’ve seen every myth, false claim and poor attempt at dust control out there. (See this recent article dispelling several of these myths.)

Because of the many common misconceptions out there, we at Midwest are on a mission to share the ideas we’ve been developing over the years. Our goal is to help as many companies as possible design more effective fugitive dust control plans – while saving them money. 

This mission is at the heart of how we approach every dust control challenge we face. 

The secret to a winning fugitive dust control plan

A steel manufacturer approached Midwest as they were exploring options to upgrade the process of managing their facility’s fugitive dust emissions, while continuing to maintain regulatory compliance. 

Their current process for dealing with dust control involved applying asphalt emulsion, watering and sweeping. These outdated methods created several problems of their own. 

First, the application of the emulsion resulted in heavy tracking onto paved areas. Second, the company faced high labor costs as they had to pay for weekend overtime to apply the emulsion. Third, watering cost was eating up nearly 50% of their budget. (Each of their three water trucks spent 1,200 hours per year on watering activities, costing $86 per hour.)

Finally, the client wanted to improve how they utilized their labor resources. These processes resulted in five primary cost components: 

  • Watering costs ($309,600 per year)
  • Asphalt emulsion costs ($234,000 per year)
  • Sweeping costs ($72,000 per year)
  • Maintenance costs ($8,000 per year)
  • Labor costs ($10,000 per year)

The total cost for their current fugitive dust control plan was $633,600 per year (over $50,000 per month). 

Midwest’s Solution

Midwest proposed our Managed Service® program, using EnviroKleen™. This program set out to accomplish several objectives. First, we sought a reduction in operational and labor costs associated with watering and sweeping, as well as the elimination of asphalt emulsion. This would reduce the manufacturer’s costs by $496,200:

  • Watering reduction goal: $232,200 (75% of the total original cost)
  • Asphalt emulsion reduction goal: $234,000 (100% of the total original cost)
  • Sweeper reduction goal: $18,000 (25% of the total original cost)
  • Labor/maintenance/other reduction goal: $12,000 (67% of the total original cost)

(This would leave a total of $137,400 in remaining costs, in addition to the cost of Midwest’s program.)

Second, our plan would reduce the impact of tracking on paved areas within the facility. Third, it would reduce weekend labor and operational costs associated with dust management. Fourth, it would help the company maintain compliance and improve dust emissions levels (creating a better, healthier working environment for employees). Finally, it would help maintain a positive corporate image, demonstrating a proactive approach to positive community stewardship. 

The cost for Midwest’s Managed Service® program would be $330,190 for 822,850 square feet of surface area. Added to the remaining costs of $137,400, the client’s new fugitive dust control plan would cost $467,590, a savings of $166,010. It would eliminate 26% of their total costs while improving dust emissions, working conditions and labor utilization. 

The key to an effective fugitive dust control plan

How were we able to plan for this level of precision in advance? This is where the “science” part of “dust control down to a science” comes into play. At Midwest, we take three steps before ever implementing a fugitive dust control plan that ensures we can get the results we aim for: 

  1. Midwest technicians study the local soil and conditions that affect what we apply and how we apply it
  2. We come up with a plan that includes the product mix we’ll use, the frequency of application, any soil stabilization work we think your road surface will require and more; then, we implement that plan on a test section so you can see what results you can expect
  3. Finally, our scientists track everything during the test to prove exactly how successful our program can be for you

Midwest uses a range of evaluation tools before, during and after the test (and complete program, if the client agrees to move to that stage). Depending on site-specific circumstances, these may include: 

  • Visual Emissions Observations (VEO) – certified observers use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Method 9 procedure to provide instantaneous opacity readings of fugitive dust plumes generated by traffic
  • Silt Load Testing – another EPA test, this method involves collecting a sample of dust from the road surface and testing it in Midwest’s lab; it allows the prediction of potential dust emissions
  • Visual Surface Condition Assessments – trained Midwest personnel evaluate the road surface to document surface deterioration, dust levels and overall performance of treated areas
  • Stationary Dust Monitoring – this process involves the strategic placement of air monitors to determine the concentrations of fugitive dust emissions
  • Stationary Motion Cameras – these are used to photograph dust plumes generated by traffic
  • Qualitative Evaluation of Dust Emissions – this method is predominately used at mining facilities to measure the duration, height and length of dust plumes put off by haul truck traffic

All of this data allows us to accurately predict results then make further adjustments to improve those results. This model works particularly well: we consistently hit our clients’ objectives head on, providing them the greatest efficiencies between costs and benefits. 

Get the plan right – right from the start

So where does this leave us with the steel manufacturer? 

Midwest hit all desired targets during the test phase. Watering and sweeping were significantly reduced. Dust emission levels were down across work areas. Asphalt emulsion was no longer needed, also removing the tracking problem. And labor was freed up to work in other areas. 

For this client, science won the battle against dust. And it did so through Midwest’s Managed Service® dust control program. 

So what’s included in the program? 

Midwest created this program for customers who wish to perform dust control themselves. We provide the equipment (our 1500 Series Portable Sprayer, a versatile spraying system designed to offer complete application flexibility), the product (EnviroKleen™, a synthetic organic fluid with a binder), the recommended fugitive dust control plan, the equipment/plan training and support. 

This offers you a flexible, affordable fugitive dust control plan. But, if you’d like more handholding throughout the process, Midwest can also provide dust control engineered services, emissions and silica rule compliance testing, site visits and a site application plan. 

Whichever option you choose, you’ll have much more control over your dust management program than you likely do now. For one, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll spend each year, as Midwest can offer you a multi-year budget plan up front, thereby avoiding ad hoc costs throughout the year. 

To learn more about how Midwest can help you create an effective fugitive dust control plan, reach out to us today.

Bob is founder and CEO of Midwest Industrial Supply.