A Regional Probabilistic Dust Emission Management Model for Construction Activities
Fugitive dust emissions from active construction sites, without wind erosion and dust suppression controls, can be orders of magnitude higher than pre-development background values. As the exact location, size, and timing of construction activities within a region are difficult to forecast, a new probabilistic dust emission management tool is proposed. This proposed Construction Induced Dust Emission Management (CIDEM) probabilistic model incorporates both the spatial and temporal variation of construction activities. Characterization of the construction phases provides the basis for the dust emission calculations and for the selection/sizing of the wind erosion and dust suppression control measures commonly used on construction sites, including watering, mulching, unpaved road dust suppressants, and revegetation. The cost-optimization of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) is performed using a genetic algorithm and linear programming called Evolver. However, to keep the cost reasonable, contractors applying the wind erosion and dust suppression controls should target highly susceptible areas, prioritizing unpaved roads, followed by areas with little-to-no boundary obstructions and flat bare soil surfaces that would remain exposed for extended periods. This study highlights that construction sites should consider modelling maximum daily dust emissions and use wind erosion and dust suppression controls if the site footprint is larger than 5 ha or if the soil is of sandy nature as those soils have significantly higher dust emission potential when disturbed and exposed for extended period of time than others.