Catching the Air Quality Enemy– Fugitive Dust

Fugitive Dust is the term for the dust that gets into our air or water as a side effect of everyday actions or sources such as cars, construction vehicles, agriculture, and outdoor storage piles.

These dusts, called ‘particulate matter’ are a pollutant and have a serious negative effect on our air quality.

Industrial sites are often a main source of these fugitive dusts as many heavy vehicles move around sites and track particles onto the road.  Other traffic then moves the dirt around and into our air and water. This dirt is called ‘drag-out’ and it can get especially bad on sites with open storage piles and dirt roads. While things like vehicle exhaust and tire wear also create nasty dusts, the impact of drag-out is very easy to prevent.

Drag out of dust can contribute to air pollution

Drag out of dust can contribute to air pollution

There are many steps industrial sites, such as construction zones, need to take to decrease the impact of dust on our air quality such as covering supplies and washing vehicles before they leave a site.  It isn’t just a suggestion, it’s the law. Municipal By-Laws forbid the tracking of mud, soil or building materials on to public roads and The City can fine violators for costs to clean up the mess.

The best thing to do is to snap a photo (if you can) and then report the violation. Environment Hamilton has a great program called Dust Busters all about drag out and how you can help. Visit their website to find all the details on reporting a problem:

You can also find more about this topic, and lots of other information about air quality in Hamilton, from the CleanAir Hamilton website.

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