Dust Suppressants and Water Quality

By Karen Irwin and Peter Husby
Clark County DAQEM; Environmental Quality Management; Maricopa County DAQEM; San Diego State University; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; EPA Region 9

The use of dust suppressants not only enhances dust control but can also significantly reduce the amount of water needed to effectively control dust. However, application of dust suppressants could also negatively impact the quality of underground water and surface water bodies through in- filtration or storm water runoff.

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Figure - AZ (Left) and NV (Right) Soil Columns Before and After Product Application

The purpose of this research was to identify dust suppressant products with minimal to no adverse impacts on water quality and aquatic life relative to use of water alone. Simulated stormwater runoff from small-scale soil plots treated with six dust suppressant products was evaluated for water quality and aquatic toxicity. The study also evaluated the quality of water leached through soils treated with dust suppressant products. The study de- sign replicated, to the extent possible, conditions under which dust suppressants are typically applied at construction sites in desert climates.

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Figure - Vertical Leaching Experiment: (a) Column Design and (b) Experimental Setup

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Figure - Treated Arizona Soil Trays Under Heat Lamps

Dust suppressant products tested included:

• Chem-Loc 101 (surfactant)

• Enviro RoadMoisture 2.5 (surfactant)

• Durasoil (synthetic fluid)

• Jet-Dry (surfactant)

• Haul Road Dust Control (surfactant)

• EnviroKleen (synthetic polymer)

Overall, water quality results for the dust suppressant products were favorable and generally minimal, showing concentrations similar to water-only control tests on untreated soils for the majority of parameters evaluated. However, this study is not a substitute for site-specific monitoring of dust suppressant impacts and results should not be applied to products that were not tested.

Regional Scientists: Karen Irwin and Peter Husby

ORD Scientists: David Reisman, National Risk Manage- ment Research Laboratory, Cincinnati, OH

Partners: Edward Beighley, San Diego State University; Clark County Department of Air Quality & Environmental Management, Las Vegas, NV; Maricopa County Air Quality Department (AQD), Phoenix, AZ; Environmental Quality Management, Inc.

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