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Construction, Demolition and Remediation

Construction, Demolition and Remediation

Invest in Your Reputation

Monitoring worksite air quality is a priority of every organization involved in construction, demolition and remediation. We are all stakeholders in clean air, which contributes to healthier living and a healthier planet. Benefits of monitoring include:

  • Ensuring compliance with air quality regulations
  • Protecting employees and community members
  • Enhancing your reputation and standing in the community
  • Modeling your commitment to environmental leadership among industry professionals
  • Allowing you to adjust your site activities in order to maximize efficiency
  • Providing your organization with defensible data against liability

Proper Aeroqual unit placement (siting) and setup by CleanAir provides your team with the real-time, web-accessible air quality data needed to make decisions on the ground to mitigate excessive dust/particulate matter or other airborne hazards. Project managers can define and set custom alerts and assess sources of pollution using CleanCloud™ or even quickly set up new stations on their own.


Common Air Pollutants

Beyond the obvious material waste, visible dust, noise and vibration, other forms of pollution common on construction, demo, and remediation sites include: nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine dust particles invisible to the naked eye.

Combustion from vehicles and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) produces oxides of nitrogen (NOx). NOx is primarily made up of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). NO2 is of most concern due to its impact on health. However, NO easily converts to NO2 in the air. In order to reduce concentrations of NO2 it is essential to control emissions of NOx. National ambient air quality standards set NO2 as a criteria pollutant and indicator of the larger group of nitrogen oxides.*

Construction and demolition sites generate NO2 from diesel- or gasoline-fueled engines in industrial trucks, excavators, loaders, bulldozers, mobile cranes, off-road machinery and static engines such as pumps and electricity generators. Idling engines are a significant contributor to NRMM emissions and personal exposure to NO2.

Particle pollution or particulate matter (PM) encompasses all suspended dust matter in the air, and is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. In the context of construction sites, the two PM-related concerns of key interest are PM2.5 and PM10. The exhaust from diesel-powered construction equipment includes fine particles, virtually all of which are PM2.5 (2.5 micrometers or smaller in diameter); exhaust particulate is sometimes called primary PM2.5. Fine particles are also chemically formed in the atmosphere from various pollutants and these particles are referred to as secondary PM2.5.

Construction-related dust includes larger size or coarse particles also known as PM10. PM10 is generated from bulk material operations on construction sites, such as earthworks, demolition, crushing and grinding operations, soil and aggregate stockpiling, and from smaller activities such as cutting building materials. These operations contribute to windblown dust problems—sometimes called fugitive dust—and the movement of dirt from the construction or demolition site onto nearby roadways. Once dirt or dust from a site has been “tracked out” onto a road, passing vehicles entrain fugitive dust and particulates which can remain in the air for days or even weeks.


Environmental Impacts and Regulatory Obligations

In the United States alone there are over two million pieces of construction and mining equipment which consume over 6 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year. The main environmental concern from construction equipment is emissions of air pollutants that impact air quality, climate change and cause a major health burden for construction workers and communities. In inner-city areas, construction machinery such as diggers, dozers and electricity generators make up more than a quarter of the traffic-related particulate matter emissions.

Air monitoring requirements and target parameters are usually determined by site investigative reports and federal, state or county guidelines. Examples of U.S. regulatory guidelines include New York State DER-10 Technical Guidance for Site Investigation and Remediation and Community Air Monitoring Plan (CAMP), and in California, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) Rule 1466 Control of Particulate Emissions from Soils with Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs).

Cleaning up the messes of our past is our responsibility to future generations, and during demolition and remediation projects, harmful Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can be disrupted by debris removal, wrecking and digging. Managing ambient air quality is an imminent piece of that philanthropic puzzle which makes the world a better place. Ambient air quality monitoring is typically required for the following sites:

  • US EPA State Superfund National Priority List (NPL)
  • Former Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP) sites
  • Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal sites
  • Brownfield Cleanup Programs (BCP)
  • Environmental Restoration Programs (ERP)
  • Mine tailings investigation and rehabilitation
  • State/Regional Water Board Site Cleanup Programs
  • Former metal smelting and timber treatment facilities


Selecting the Right Tool for the Job

AQM65 AQS1 Dust Sentry


Whether your site simply needs a “basic” air monitoring solution to measure dust or a more robust system capable of capturing volatile organic compound readings, Aeroqual provides a hardware solution to meet your needs. The goal in site testing ought to be first reducing or eliminating pollution, then effectively mitigating it, responding to emergencies, and finally maintaining regulatory compliance or organization-set standards.

Aeroqual AQM65 and AQS1 ambient air quality monitoring enclosures can be equipped with a customized set of modules capable of monitoring your site-specific needs. Out of the box, the Dust Sentry Pro, housed in the same enclosure as the AQS1, simultaneously measures air temperature and relative humidity and particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and Total Suspended Particulate [TSP]).

The AQS1 is capable of measuring particulate matter (TSP, PM10, PM2.5, PM1) and up to three gases (O3, NO2, VOCs) simultaneously. The more robust AQM65 provides the most versatility and monitoring capabilities, including internal unit temperature and humidity monitoring and control. Units measure VOCs down to the parts-per-billion (ppb) in AQM65- and AQS1-compatible modules. Because Aeroqual enclosures are modular, customers may order units with just ozone, for example, and add PM or another gas module at a later date without returning units to CleanAir.



* See: https://www.aeroqual.com/why-monitor-no2-and-pm-at-construction-sites