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Controlling Dust on the Project Site featured image

Controlling Dust on the Project Site

Dust is a common aggravator on project sites in the Volunteer State. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publishes guidelines on dust control and stabilization to help mitigate the chance of dust polluting the air or water. Dust control practices can be implemented at any stage of a construction project, but the project specs and environment will have a significant effect on the dust control strategies that can be employed.

Controlling dust requires contractors to be cognizant of the various strategies that can be used to minimize the transport of dust from one area to another. If you don’t want to receive a lofty fine, like one builder in Arizona who was fined more than $100,000 for violating dust control measures, consult a Nashville construction litigation attorney to ensure that your project site is compliant with all relevant laws governing dust control. In this article, we will discuss a few strategies for controlling dust on your project sites.


Wetting the project site in areas that are dust prone is an effective strategy for minimizing the spread of dust. Typically, this involves employing a water tanker to spray the site thereby weighing down particulates and reducing the likelihood of dust becoming airborne. You should be cautious about the amount of water being applied to the project site as too much water can lead to erosion.

Mulch and Vegetation

Mulch and vegetation can be utilized to minimize the effects of water and wind erosion on exposed soil. This green method of dust control is effective but requires additional hands to maintain the health of the vegetation being used. For some projects, this method may not be viewed as a practical dust control method, but it’s one of the most effective strategies for reducing wind erosion which typically results in airborne dust.


If your project site is located in an area where there is very little vehicle traffic, you can apply polymers to the soil. Once you have spread polymers to any vulnerable areas, they can be activated by adding water. Once watered, the polymers will dry to become a soft, flexible crust that resists erosion.

Soil Stabilizers

Soil stabilizers act similarly to polymers. They create cohesive bonds that trap dust and minimize erosion. There are many types of soil stabilizers including:

  • Chlorides: three of the most common chloride stabilizers are calcium chloride, magnesium chloride, and sodium chloride. These hygroscopic products siphon moisture from the air to continually wet the surface thereby strengthening the bonding capabilities of chlorides.
  • Resins: generally composed of lignin sulfonate and often referred to as “tree sap” (since it is sourced from pulp milling refuse), resins help bind soil particles together to reduce dust pollution.
  • Natural Clays: although natural clays perform poorly in excessively dry climates, they are highly plastic and feature strong cohesive qualities.
  • Soybean Oil: otherwise known as acidulated soybean oil soapstock, this stabilizer is produced during the caustic refining process used to create usable soybean oil. Not only does soybean oil permeate gravel, it is biodegradable, which is a bonus for contractors looking to employ greener construction practices.

If you would like to speak with our Nashville construction litigation attorneys, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.