Controlling dust at your construction site should be a priority. Depending on the location of your job site, excessive dust generation can result in hefty fines from local and state authorities, and it's also a specific concern of the Environmental Protection Agency. Below are several effective practices that you should adopt to keep dust levels at a minimum:
Keep speeds to a minimum
One of the simplest and least expensive practices you can adopt immediately is slowing down while driving on the job site. Setting a speed limit of 10 miles per hour is a good place to start, but you need to evaluate your site's size, location and moisture content to make a decision about your specific site. In addition, enforcement is also key to making a speed limit effective; be sure to use an adequate number of visible, well-placed speed limit signs, and don't hesitate to remind violators that speed limits are an essential part of your dust control plan. In addition, be sure that all subcontractors understand the need to practice slow driving. To add "teeth" to your directives, include dust generation prevention as a clause in contracts and provide for financial penalties should they fail to comply.
Prepare on-site road surfaces
Another practice that can help minimize dust emissions is the proper preparation of road surfaces on your site. While paving with asphalt is an ideal means of controlling dust, the use of compacted gravel is a satisfactory solution for most construction sites. Even small sites can benefit from placing gravel in strategic vehicle operating lanes, so don't allow the size of your project to be an excuse for ignoring this strategy. You can also contact a street sweeping service, such as USA Services of Florida, to help manage any dust accumulation.
Dump low to the vehicle or pile
An easy, but also often-overlooked, practice to adopt is the dumping of materials at a low height relative to the receiving vehicle or pile. Instruct equipment operators to keep buckets low when releasing materials; this will minimize dust clouding due to blowing and the "rebound" of materials when they strike the surface of their destination. As with speed limit signs, posting visible notices about dumping heights can be a constant reminder to operators and help them increase their level of care while dumping. These notices may be posted on the site itself, but they can also be effective when used in-cab near the operator's field of vision.
Minimize the number of exits and entrances
If your site does not have a dedicated entrance and/or exit, then you should strongly consider the creation of one combined entrance and exit. Allowing drivers to enter and exit a site at any location of convenience can tear up the ground and cause tremendous dust clouds. Controlling access, on the other hand, makes it easier and more cost-effective to protect lanes of travel as indicated earlier.
Use water to control dust
Water is the great enemy of dust, so be sure to use it to your advantage on your site. Water can be distributed either by misting or dripping, but avoid the use of high speed sprays; these can actually kick up dust and aggravate the problem. Schedule water runs on a regular basis so that crews can work around them without undue interruption, and make sure that an adequate amount of water is used. An overly-light misting will quickly evaporate and be a waste of time and resources. In addition, use non-potable water whenever it is available to lessen waste and expense; if your site is close to a natural water source, investigate the possibility of using a pump to access the water.
Use only as much equipment as necessary
Another means to lessen the amount of dust on your site is to use only the amount of equipment that is needed to perform a task. The larger the equipment, the bigger the impact on the site's soil base and the more likely it is to generate dust clouds. Before performing any specific task, make dust generation an item of evaluation when deciding on what equipment is appropriate for the work.