Soil stabilization and dust control is known by most pe Preople in the construction industry, but it is not completely understood. I’m here to get the word out about two different factors. 1. The effect that dust has on the environment. 2. The best methods for soil stabilization and dust control.
When people think about dust, they think it’s more of an annoyance than anything–something that needs to swept into a dustpan. Worse yet, they’ll sweep it under the rug. Dust is actually a pervasive problem, a worse pollutant than car exhaust.
Construction is booming. What that means is dust is booming as well. Every time a truck drives on a haul road, large clouds of dust are kicked up. Soil Stabilization can make roads as hard as asphalt, with little to none of the dust problems. In addition, it can make visibility impossible.
What Can Soil Stabilization Do?
In many cases construction sites are still using plain water to curb dust. This is an extremely antiquated and inefficient way to deal with the problem. You have to reapply it often and it doesn’t even work so well at its peak. A chemical soil stabilization agent can be applied before construction begins and can last for a year or more.
Chemical soil stabilization binds together soil particles so they are immovable. Perhaps the most important feature of the better soil stabilization products is that they are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. With new dust control regulations being written, it doesn’t make any sense to trade one problem with another.
Worker safety is also of prime concern. Nevermind regulations, it is important to have a healthy workforce. The great fallacy of sub-par soil stabilization methods is that people think they are saving money. With liability claims or EPA fines, you could possible be spending well above the cost of any soil stabilization product.
Soil Stabilization beyond Construction
Soil stabilization is not only an issue for major industrial construction projects. It’s used in the military for make-shift runways or trenches. It is widely used for landscaping in parks or hotels. Think of a hard, dirt bike path. Nine times out of ten, soil stabilization was used.
Soil stabilization may not be thought about by people outside the building industry, but really it is a world-wide issue. Because dust is a major pollutant, and we all enjoy parks, it is an issue for everyone. I’ll fill you in on just what soil stabilization can do, the best methods of application, and just how important it is for any project.
Dust control is a crucially important issue at any construction site. When you think of dust, you think a pile of some gray stuff sitting in the corner of the living room. Now imagine a veritable ocean of the stuff and that’s what construction workers have to face everyday.
Dust Control is not just a problem for construction sites themselves, but for what happens to the dust once construction is over. It’s bad enough having to work in a thick cloud of dust–breathing it in, coating the skin and clothing. Once construction is done that dust has nowhere to go except stick to everything it touches.
Dust Control And The Environment
So dust control isn’t just about worker safety, it is about curtailing a growing environmental problem. In places such as Arizona which are excessively dry climates, dust storms are becoming a growing problem. In our industrialized society, more construction means more dust.
A note to anybody who runs a construction site: quality dust control isn’t about helping your worker’s future, but also their children’s. Being that dust control is such an economical and easy procedure, there’s no reason to not exercise a little caution.
Dust suppression should not just be the concern of construction workers, but everyone. I can hear what you’re thinking: Dust? Now we have to worry about dust? Acid rain, maybe, polluted water, I can understand, but dust seems like a minor problem.
Actually dust is a major problem and it can contribute to the two problems listed above. Because dust is light, it can travel. The dust created by construction sites is particularly acrid and even toxic and the airborne dust can enter the water supply.
When we think of pollution, we usually think of smokestacks or car exhaust. Dust rivals this problem. In fact, dust can collect other impurities from smoke-borne pollution. Dust Suppression is as vital an issue as a car’s smog check or other environmental protection initiatives.
Traveling Dust Suppression
If you’re still not convinced we need dust suppression, look at this study: in Miami they collected dust particles and determined that the dust had traveled from the Sahara Desert. Are you kidding me? Just as greenhouse gases from America can affect the entire world, dust is a global problem.
A dust suppressant will help with these common problems: asthma, allergies, and a variety of lung problems. If dust problems arise with everyday people, it is daunting to wonder how it affects construction workers. They may wear hard hats, but not many construction workers wear gasmasks, or even minimal air protection.
One of the common defenses of dust creation is that it is unavoidable. For example, building in a desert landscape is going to create dust, there’s no way around it. This isn’t true. A Dust Suppressant can help with, even eliminate, the dustiest surroundings.
Dust Suppressant in The Desert
A desert area is not swirling with clouds of dust, except during the occasional storm. The real problem comes with construction when bulldozers or other heavy machinery kicks up the dust. Otherwise, the desert is pretty dormant.
Dust is mostly a man-made issue, as is the dust suppressant. The best dust suppressant may be to spread the word. The feeling that dust is unavoidable on a construction site is problem #1.
Construction Site Dust Control
Construction site dust control is not only effective, but should be mandatory. At the same time there’s good dust control and bad dust control. Some construction sites have taken to using plain water as their construction site dust control agent. This is woefully ineffective.
As I’ve mentioned, some of the worst dust control problems occur in the Southwest where the climate is dry. This is not to say Construction Site Dust Control is not a problem in humid climates. Either way, water is going to evaporate quickly.
Some construction sites have been known to fill up water trucks ten times a day to spray down a construction site. At 4000 gallons a truck, this can amount to hundreds of thousands of gallons for just one construction site. Besides being inefficient, it is an egregious waste of water.
The Necessity for Efficient Construction Site Dust Control
Chemical solvents may cost a bit more money but they are 1. Safer for the environment and 2. Cut down on the labor for reusing water trucks. Think of the money that might be saved on labor by having construction site dust control be a one shot deal.
Gravel Road Dust Control
Gravel road dust control should be environmentally friendly. The whole point of dust control is to cut down on environmental pollutants. It would make little sense to trade one evil for another.
If you don’t have a soft spot in your heart for the environment–for instance, if you are mainly concerned with the bottom line–there are financial factors to consider. If workers on a construction site are continually getting sick on a construction site due to pollutants, this can drain a company with worker’s comp payments. It could even lead to a company being sued.
Not to mention the ethical standard that construction companies should live up to. If a construction company knows that their workers are being harmed by the pollutants on a site, they should do what they can to protect them. Ultimately, what helps the workers, helps the environment.
The Importance of Gravel Road Dust Control
Gravel road dust control is particularly important because gravel dust is hard on the lungs. Coupled with the tar used to pave roads, you could be looking at years of hospital bills. This is not an alarmist scenario. Gravel road dust control is a major health issue.
Dust prevention is only environmentally friendly if it is biodegradable. We’ve all heard that buzzword and the fact that styrofoam will last for millions of years. Dust control agents should be able to break down over time as well.
At the same time, biodegradable doesn’t mean dust control will “degrade” overnight. Dust Prevention is built to last, so you will not have to keep reapplying it. Generally dust prevention can last for a year or more. For one relatively quick application, that is not so bad.
Durable Dust Prevention
Dust prevention also needs to be durable. It shouldn’t wash away with the first rainfall. It also should be transparent–it won’t distort the landscape. Not only does dust prevention help air quality, it isn’t unsightly.
Once all of these bases are covered, there’s no reason not to use some kind of dust prevention–be it for gravel roads, a building foundation, or other construction sites. One of the major reasons construction sites don’t use adequate dust prevention is because they think it is formidably expensive. I’m here to tell you: that’s not the case.