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How a leading producer of aggregates manages their fugitive dust risk with APT

One of the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates—primarily crushed stone, sand and gravel—and a major producer of aggregates-based construction materials including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete — has partnered with APT.

This producer has over 404 active aggregates facilities, and 71 asphalt facilities and 142 concrete facilities. As an aggregates company, staying compliant with air regulations is key to ensuring seamless operations for their facilities.

Traditional sampling methods left the company vulnerable against unjustified dust complaints and NOVs

The company's Environmental Manager is responsible for air regulation compliance. Community complaints about excessive dusting and staying compliant with opacity regulations are two of their key responsibilities.

Prior to using APT, the company had no data about their impact on the surrounding community’s air quality and no idea of their fugitive dust risks.

“My goal is that we're always in compliance. The typical old style monitors aren’t really doing much for you. You just do it once a day and such a small snapshot, a broader time period, and it takes weeks to get the data.”
- Environmental Manager

Problem 1: Little defense against community dust complaints

One of the producer's sites is located close to a residential neighborhood, so community complaints about air quality were only a matter of time. Because the site was close, residents would link air quality problems to the company, even if the cause was something else.

Unable to prove their non-impact on the community, the producer found itself vulnerable to NOVs that could shut down their operations, and lawsuits that would cost time and money.

Problem 2: Difficulty ensuring opacity compliance

Staying within opacity limits was another challenge that the environmental team was facing. It was unrealistic for their operations team to constantly conduct visual opacity readings. By the time they would catch excessive dusting, the issue might have been already lasted for hours.

The company wanted to make sure they’re always in compliance, and better understand how to address excessive dusting whenever it occurred.

Setting up real-time dust monitoring and LEAP™ dust management

The MAXIMA stationary air quality sensor  from Applied Particle Technology (APT)

The Environmental Manager and his team sought out Applied Particle Technology (APT) to solve their air quality challenges. Within a few weeks, APT installed a number of stationary air quality sensors along the fence line, as well as one sensor at the crusher - a dust hot spot.

APT’s LEAP™ dust management platform would collect this sensor data and turn it into actionable insights for the Environmental Manager and the site-specific operations team.

Defending against unjustified dust complaints with robust air quality data

With stationary sensors posted along the fence line, the company was now capturing real-time air quality data around the clock. APT’s algorithm turned this data into dust maps, which visualized how dust moved across the site any day of the year.

This makes it easy for the Environmental Manager to show how his company's operation is affecting the surrounding community. More importantly, he can defend the company against unjustified community complaints.

Visualization of the site's surrounding community

With the help of APT, The Environmental Manager also generated a long-term report that showed the producer's operation had no impact on the community’s air quality.

“My goal is to have a defense. I want to have all that information from the monitors over all four seasons. If we do get any complaints from our neighbors, I can say ‘We’ve measured, and we’re nowhere near the federal guidelines of the national ambient air quality standards.”
- Environmental Manager

Reliable opacity compliance thanks to real-time monitoring and text notifications

Using the LEAP™ platform, the company also set up automated email and text notifications for opacity readings above 10% that lasted longer than six minutes.

Instead of hoping to catch excessive dusting with random visual checks, the company's operations team now had real-time notifications based on sensor readings.

“We get notifications via texts or email that we can set at different parameters. If it goes over that limit, it alerts you. And then, from an operations perspective, we can address it."
- Environmental Manager

Now, whenever the site was at risk for being out of compliance, their operations team would get notified and could immediately address the situation by sending out water trucks or checking the dust suppression system - instead of letting the situation get out of control.

"I know our primary crusher is always reading a little high. Some days it’s right at the trigger point where I'll get the additional notification, so I visually verify and talk to our plant operator [to address the issue]. It's no different from getting a notification on your phone for a text, just an immediate heads up".
-  Plant Supervisor

Example of notifications received by the operations team

Stay compliant with air regulations with APT's dust management platform

As one of the leading producing construction aggregates in the country, maintaining compliance with air quality regulations was crucial. With real-time dust monitoring and the LEAP dust management platform, the company now captures continuous air quality data, offering robust defense against unjustified complaints and ensuring regulatory compliance.

Facing similar air quality compliance challenges? Watch our video demo to learn more about APT’s dust management platform, or book a meeting with our team to discuss your application.

Take a tour of APT's dust management platform

Vulcan Materials Company is the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates.

Project partner

Brent Leclerc | Environmental Manager

Problems solved

Unjustified community dust complaints & lawsuits

Difficulty complying with opacity regulations and risk of NOVs


Real-time dust monitoring

Dust maps proving no community impact, preventing fines & lawsuits

Real-time opacity monitoring, high degree of compliance

Case study overview

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