Dust can be a major health and safety issue at work sites like quarries. Before addressing the issue, it is important to have an understand of what causes dust, the impacts of dust pollution, and how you can help minimize the health and safety issues caused by dust.
What is a Quarry?
A quarry is a type of open pit mine where rocks and minerals are extracted. Stone quarrying is a process where rock is extracted from the ground and crushed to produce aggregate material which is then screened into desired sizes. Aggregate material is used for constructing roads, rail lines, bridges, hospitals, schools, homes, etc. Stone quarrying has a huge impact on the economic development of any country.
What is Dust?
Dust is a solid particle, ranging in size, that becomes airborne depending on physical characteristics and environmental conditions. Typically, the smaller the dust is, the more hazardous it is to human health.
Dust and Quarries
Quarries tend use haul roads. Haul roads are typically dirt roads utilized for transporting material to and from the quarry. The heavy machinery used to on haul roads creates erosion and dust bloom clouds. This dust pollution is then carried by the wind and can affect surrounding areas.
Impacts of Dust Pollution From Quarries
The consequences of high dust pollution can affect vegetation, animals, and the health of workers and local communities. “The dust particle size, concentration, chemical composition and length of the exposure are factors considered in evaluating the health risks involved” (Plich). Dust pollution from quarries affect more than just those working onsite, but it impacts nearby communities because quarries tend to be located close to residential areas. Now, local communities are paying more attention to the impacts of dust pollution from quarries which has contributed to tighter Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
Picture Credit: Clean Heat
The EPA is looking to penalize quarry operations that do not effectively control dust by administering costly fines or suspending operations. For example, in 2015 the Ministry of Environment of the UAE suspended permits for 14 quarry and crusher operators. As more attention is brought to the issue of dust pollution at quarries, it would not be surprising to see this become standard procedure in the future.
What are Effective Dust Control Solutions for Quarries?
There are many treatments and programs to effectively control dust at a quarry operation. DuraBlend®, from EnviroTech Services, Inc., utilizes an enhanced polymer to help bond aggregate to the road which lowers chloride migration and improves friction to produce a safer driving surface.
Another dust control treatment EnviroTech Services, Inc. offers is RoadSaver®. RoadSaver gives roads the ability to hold fines longer and promotes compaction which lowers the overall need for maintenance. The hygroscopic properties of RoadSaver allows it to act as a binder that holders fine particles and aggregate together creating a hard, compact surface.
Additionally, EnviroTech Services, Inc. offers X-Hesion Pro® which is an ultra-low chloride-based treatment that utilizes organic, complex polymers that work to keep a wide variety of road bases stable and dust free.
EnviroTech Services, Inc. has a diverse and extensive product suite so if you are not exactly sure what you are looking for, we are here to help. To learn more about how we can help you, please visit our website or speak with a representative at 800-369-3878.
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Plich, Maciej. “Quarries – a Solution or a Dust Problem?” Soil Solutions, 2 Aug. 2017, www.soilsolutions.com/quarries-solution-or-dust-problem/. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.