Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, which is in the forefront in requesting PM10 monitoring for coal reclamation activities in Britain, has extended its detailed monitoring regime.

The two pieces of equipment have been sites on schools close to residential areas that border the quarries – one extracting limestone and the other sand – and the council has been collecting data using remote modem technology to pass it back to the Air Pollution Control department via mobile telephones.

Casella’s APM950s uses infrared light scattering technology to give the team at Doncaster real-time monitoring and the more traditional gravimetric sampling, simultaneously. Heaters are incorporated to eliminate the possibility of errors arising through humidity or moisture, and purge pumps perform hourly calibration of all optically sensitive components. A programmable logger is able to store up to 13,650 readings in its memory.

The equipment has been installed following an extensive modelling exercise undertaken across the area as a result of the Government’s requirements contained within the DETR papers, which all local authorities were tasked with examining the pollution within their areas.

Ian Kellett, Senior Pollution Control Officer at Doncaster, says: “Although our modelling did not reveal any pollution problems emanating from the quarries, we believed it was incumbent upon us to confirm and quantify these findings.

“Although there is an accepted rule of thumb limit of 200 mg/m2 per day for nuisance dust deposition, results from surveys that we have carried out using directional dust gauges have not approached this limit. Therefore, when the Government suggested local authorities should examine the air for PM10s from mineral operations, we took the opportunity to purchase the appropriate equipment to give us the accurate information we were seeking.”

Particulates health hazards

Mr Kellett said, that with Doncaster sitting on coalfields and surrounded by limestone and sand deposits, it was imperative that the authority was conscious that every effort should be made to ensure that there were no health risks as a result. He pointed out that particulates, particularly those derived from road transport, has been blamed for short-term and long-term respiratory illnesses. The council had, therefore, purchased a number of mobile units that had been used on strategic road points across the borough.

Gary Noakes of Casella comments: “The APM950 is playing a key role across the country in assisting many local authorities with their air quality monitoring strategies. Modelling of pollutant levels is a very valuable tool, but, as Doncaster shows, it is also important to monitor potential hot spots as a means of validation of these models.

“Many industrial applications, including construction, manufacturing and power generation, are potential sources of particulates and also need to monitor levels at their boundaries to monitor their compliance with legislation.

“Real-time data, together with the speciation of particulate that can be performed on the gravimetric sample from the APM950, gives the environmental manager an extremely detailed analysis of these levels.”

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