How to achieve effective dust control on construction sites

How to achieve effective dust control on construction sites South Africa_IMG

Constructions sites of all sizes and types pose a unique set of dust control challenges. There are numerous ways dust can be generated and each dust generation point needs to be dealt with separately.

Whenever earth is being pushed around by dozers and graders, the bare earth will inevitably start blowing around in the wind, causing dust and other contaminants to become air borne.

At larger construction sites, unsealed dirt roads are an obvious and major contributor to dust.

Additionally, stockpiles of fine materials such as soil are also subject to erosion and wind.

All of this dust needs to be dealt with for a variety of reasons. Air borne dust can affect the health of workers as well as cause visibility issues for neighbouring communities. Governing bodies such as Local Councils and the EPA naturally become concerned if such issues arise.

The traditional solution for dust control, especially at construction sites, is to use water carts to spray surfaces or materials with water in order prevent dust becoming air borne.

However, as many site managers will know first-hand, water carts are not only expensive to use but they cause more problems in the long run. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at how to achieve a more cost- effective and efficient solution to dust control at construction sites.  


Why water alone just won’t cut it

Dust control muddy South Africa_IMG

While water trucks have long been the go-to solution of dust control, there are significant drawbacks to using this approach alone.

Purchasing water is expensive when compared to the short-term effectiveness the water carts actually achieve. Areas treated with water trucks will only remain wet for a while before they need to be sprayed again. Operating and labour costs are therefore increased whilst productivity decreases.

Water trucks also create problems with run-off and mud which in turn creates safety issues for workers and vehicles.

The issue of mud can be amplified if there are 3rd party trucks driving on and off the construction site. Local Councils will often impose penalties when large amounts of mud are tracked onto public roads from the tyres of these trucks.

The overall effectiveness of using water in preventing air borne dust particles is low compared to other alternatives. Water has a very high surface tension, making it difficult for individual water droplets to conglomerate and bind dust particles. This leaves dust particles much more prone to becoming air borne.

Thankfully, there are more effective and cost-efficient dust control solutions available for construction sites.


Additives are the answer

Dust control water truck South Africa_IMG

Specially formulated polymer-based additives can be used to improve the performance of water trucks.

These additives are designed to create a protective seal or “crust” over the exposed surface or stockpile. This crust effectively prevents dust from becoming airborne when the sprayed area is exposed to wind, rain and even truck tyres.

Dust-A-Side has developed a range of polymer based additives which deliver improved dust reduction compared to water alone. The use of these additives also reduces high operating costs associated with water carts.

There are three additives from the range that are particularly well suited to construction site applications – HydroTac, AquaTarp and AcriBind.

Let’s take a quick look at how each of these products work to deliver improved dust control. 



HydroTac is a biodegradable binder used to bind surface particles together. It binds dust emitting particles together thus preventing erosion of soil the resultant being a dust-free surface requiring minimal watering.  

It is diluted in water carts and sprayed on temporary roads and other exposed surfaces.

Treated areas are immediately trafficable after application, making it the product of choice for construction sites large and small.

Totally organic, has no corrosive chloride compounds and readily biodegradable and therefore eco-friendly

HydroTac is ideally used in short term and medium term road dust control applications.



AquaTarp is a solvent-free, water and surfactant based emulsion of co-latex polymer emulsion. The presence of acrylic matter in the AquaTarp formulation helps to bind and seal dust emitting particles thus leaving a dust and mud-free wearing surface.

When sprayed onto stockpiled material surfaces, the crusting effect of the product produces a surface seal which exhibits e good wind and water erosion resistance. AquaTarp also prevents dust particles from being emitted into the atmosphere as well as sediment run-off.

Normally clear, it can also be supplied with a green-pigment additive to aid control of spray coverage.

 AquaTarp is ideally used for longer terms applications and also an effective dust control solution for stockpiles. If applied properly at the correct dosages, it can last  up to 12 months  without the need for maintenance



AcriBind is a careful blend of co-latex polymers and lignosulphonate binders. The product binds and partially seals the treated surface providing a dust and mud-free requiring less watering. This solution is ideal for medium to long term dust control.


Benefits of Dust-A-Side’s polymer-based additives

AquaTarp, HydroTac and AcriBind deliver substantial benefits in terms of dust control and cost savings, including:

  • Operational dust reductions of over 70%
  • Water savings of over 50%
  • Operational cost savings and efficiencies due to a reduction in water cart operating hours of more than 50%
  • Reduced sediment run-off and surface erosion
  • Safer operations due to improved visibility and reduced likelihood of a vehicle losing control as a result of over watering

While the above are highly effective, the specific conditions of a construction site always need to be considered in order to determine which solution, or combination of solutions, will be most suitable.


Want to learn more about effective dust control for your construction site?

To learn more about AquaTarp, HydroTac and AcriBind our other dust control solutions, contact the experts at Dust-A-Side today.

We’ll happily supply you with an obligation-free report to design a dust control solution tailored specifically to your construction site.

Call us now on  +27 12 648 8900 or simply click here to contact us.

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