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How to Monitor Dust?

Dust monitoring is a requirement for many construction projects and in industries such as quarrying, mining and manufacturing.

 
There are two different size fractions of dust particles (or particulate matter) that are typically measured:
 
  • Water (Piezometer), Slope Movement, Borehole Extensometer and Inclinometers
  • Other geotechnical monitoring instruments, tools and engineering equipment suppliers
  • Hosted data solutions to keep your data moving wirelessly from the field to your fingertips for geotechnical analysis

PM10 and PM2.5

Particulate matter can enter the lungs and bloodstream and is linked to a wide range of physical and mental health disorders.

Monitoring for Dust Using Two Primary Methods:

  • Gravimetric using filters
  • In real-time using sensor technology

Gravimetric Using Filters

Gravimetric sampling measures the mass of dust on a filter. This dust has been fallen onto the filter or a pump is used to pull large volumes of air across the filter.

In both cases, these filters are sent to a laboratory for analysis and a concentration for the sample period.

These measurements are very accurate, but are a historical result only and typically only give a result for either a month or 24 hour period. To determine the concentration of dust in real-time, sensor technology is required.

Real-Time Using Sensor Technology

Real-time dust monitoring uses sensor technology in an analyzer to indirectly measure the concentration of dust. The dust particles are drawn over a laser and the amount of light scattered during this process is proportional to the dust concentration. Results are recorded every minute and allow for reactive management on-site. The accuracy of this technique depends on the quality of the sensor and the type of equipment being used. Accuracy can be greatly improved using the following:

  • A physical cyclone which prevents large dust particles from entering the laser
  • A raised inlet to prevent false negatives from dust collecting on nearby surfaces
  • Auto zero calibration of the monitor at least every 24 hours
  • The use of a heated inlet to remove water particles which can look like dust to the laser
  • A constant flow rate using a high quality pump (>1 L/min)

Real-Time Dust Monitors Should Also Have the Following Features

These features will address community health concerns and satisfy stakeholders:

  1. Alert notifications – Following high dust concentrations, your monitor should be able to send you an alert to address any issues. A typical alert notification is 150 ug/m3 (15 min average) for PM10.
  2. Weather StationA weather station should be used to understand the source of dust, and to exclude dust generated off-site.\
  3. Automated data collectionUse a data logger to send your data directly to the cloud for access to your data from any location.

For further information about how to monitor dust, please call us for a free consultation.

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