Understanding Ash Dam Dust Control Methods and Applications
In the field of Australian environmental solutions, Spray Grass Australia (SGA) have been market leaders in superior dust suppression, erosion control and revegetation solutions for over 25 years. In recent times, dust suppression remediation for ash dam storage facilities has become a prominent concern for our clients. Research has indicated that the issue has stemmed from an increase in climate temperature across the nation, causing increased evaporation rates among ash dams. The loss of moisture causes ash dam surfaces to lose structural integrity and therefore produce highly concentrated fly ash within the immediate atmosphere.
Despite the stringent placement of air monitoring systems, these technological devices are explicitly designed to measure the spectrum of fly ash within the area, and therefore are unable to stop the production. Companies need to ensure that preventative measures are highly regulated to ensure that the problem doesn’t worsen and become a safety concern for local community members.
Conventional solutions consist of untreated or chemically amended water to suppress dust emissions in an enclosed area; however, the traditional methodologies to apply these products are unsustainable. Sprinkler technology is a common approach; however, they have been found to use an excess of 2000 litres per minute. With limited water recourses around Australia due to harsh weather conditions and recurrent drought-prone areas, this tactic is a misuse of time and resources due to its short term impact.
In consideration of this matter, SGA is providing environmentally sustainable solutions that successfully meet government legislation. Although our expert consultants have dealt with some of the most complex cases, they do urge potential clients to get in contact before the detection of fly ash becomes a problematic contingency. Once our consultants are called upon and have a strong understanding of the issue, a practical solution is designed to quickly and effectively mitigate the problem, based on the site-specific requirements.
Our team is committed to providing tailored dust suppression solutions that meet environmental regulations and management obligations. The designated solution is not a one size fits all methodology; therefore, it will depend upon a host of variables that are site-specific such as; micro-climate, seasonal conditions, salinity levels, soil type, substrate conditions, the area topography, accessibility, and project duration. To understand these variables, we, do undertake an independent soil analysis which assists in determining the most effective solution for the site.
SGA has proven to effectively suppress dust both at ground level and in the air while using a fraction of the water compared to traditional sprinklers mechanisms. Our solutions are designed to be sprayed onto the surface of the ash dam to prevent the need to maintain the site consistently. Depending on the environmental conditions, in conjunction with the clients’ overall goals, the following three dust suppression solution may be offered: SuppressX®, FibreLoc and HydroBond.
SuppressX® has been designed explicitly for non-trafficked areas such as stockpiles, tailings or ash dams. It has been scientifically engineered to eliminate dust lift-off after one single application, without changing or compromising the substrate beneath it. The framework of the solution is built around water-soluble polymers and engineered to penetrate the substrate below to form a flexible interlocking crust that binds with the particles to eliminate dust. This solution performs as a protective barrier coating over the substrate to provide superior dust control and erosion protection from moderate to extreme wind or rain events.
FibreLoc is a unique market-leading solution designed specifically for large exposed substrate areas such as inactive ash dams, that are subject to unpredictable and severe weather conditions. The distinctive construct is made up of interconnecting wood fibres held together by stronghold environmentally-friendly binders. Upon application, a flexible yet sturdy blanket is formed, consisting of a rough fibrous texture, which acts as a catchment area for dust particles travelling from other regions to be collected.
HydroBond is a dust suppressant designed for companies with large scopes of land, seeking to eliminate dust, while ensuring suitable substrate conditions for revegetation purposes. The engineered capabilities of the solution allow it to permeate and bind to most soil and sand types, while the structural matrix ensures that the soil remains permeable to air and water. HydroBond helps the substrate to maintain increased water retention, which promotes enhanced growth for faster seed germination.
A prevalent cause for concern among potential clients is the application of our products and the overall safety around this. SGA understands these concerns and therefore have parameters in place to ensuring that safety is at the forefront of our organisation and treated with the utmost importance.
During the initial onsite consultation, our environmental experts’ conduct a drone survey which analyses the topography of the site and determines any significant high-risk areas. This pre-site investigation assists our technicians in employing caution when working on or around the potentially unstable ground.
All plant and equipment, including our HydroRigs™, have mine-site specifications and therefore maintain the highest safety measures across all worksite environments. The HydroRigs™ are our primary application methodology; however, when projects consist of limited access points, we can utilise aircraft for optimal product coverage.
The safety of our drivers and operators is paramount, and to this end, the HydroRigs™ have a Rollover Protection Systems, edge protection and harness attachment points, interlocks and emergency stops, fire-fighting equipment, spill containment kits, and first aid equipment
This exceptional technology and additional measures allow our technicians the ability to effectively apply the product on up to 50,000+ square meters per day with the use of the following attachments: Ydrotruck
Cannon: The cannons used are mounted onto our purpose-built HydroRigs™ and used to apply our products from a distance of over 100 meters. Where required, dual cannons can be used to apply the product from both sides of the spray zone simultaneously.
Hose: With the capacity to reach distances of over 250 meters, our hoses and pumps can safely cover vertical and inaccessible slopes as well as sensitive and tight spaces with the addition of extended hose reels.
Fixed-wing planes or helicopters are our primary methodology when trying to target isolated and challenging to reach areas. Aerial application is often the most suitable application method for ash dams where vehicle access is limited.
We understand that ash dam sites require lateral thinking and innovative methods to eliminate fly ash promptly. Our difference is our ability to appoint a successful quality assurance and management program, which aims to ensure that procedures implemented during the design phase effectively meet the long term goals and objective of your company.
If you have concerns or questions regarding an environmental issue such as dispersive fly ash detected in your worksite, please contact the team today to discuss an effective solution.