Skip to main content

Controlling Organic Dust and Bioaerosols at a Biosolids Composting Facility

Buy Article:

$9.50 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Or sign up for a free trial

The City of Longmont, Colorado owns and operates an 8.5 dry tons per day aerated static pile Biosolids composting facility. The composting facility consists of a totally enclosed missing building and a separate, totally enclosed composting/curing screening building.

Since the Longmont composting facility began operating in 1991, moisture control throughout the process was very difficult. As a result of the low humidity and extremely dry conditions, the amount of organic dust generated by normal operations has become a concern for worker health and safety.

In 1994, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) issued a warning of the dangers of organic dust and the need for prevention. The health effects from organic dust exposure include inflammation, allergy, and infection.

In an effort to reduce dust and airborne contaminants at the composting facility, the City of Longmont commissioned a study to assess dust aerospore concentrations at the facility and to determine both operational and facility modifications. Air monitoring was conducted at the facility for total dust, respirable dust, endotoxin, and Aspergillus fumigatus. Samples for dust were taken in the facility and directly on personnel during activities.

The highest concentration of total dust was measured during pile teardown and screening The concentrations measured were below the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard of 15 mg/m3 for airborne particulate matter. Respirable dust concentrations were also below the OSHA exposure standard. Operator measurements showed that exposure was greatest in the mixing area. Endotoxing levels in the facility ranged from <0.5ng/m3 to .640 mg/m3. The higher levels could result in mucous membrane irritation and bronchial constriction. There was a direct correlation between total and endotoxin concentrations.

Based on these results, the City of Longmont implemented a series of mitigation measures that were recommended. These included a dust collection system in the screening area and a high-pressure wash-water truck in the composting building and the high traffic areas. Operational measures to reduce potential dust emissions were also implemented.

This paper will discuss the following

Results of the study

Worker health implications

Mitigation measures implemented

Application to other biosolids composting and management facilities
No Reference information available - sign in for access.
No Citation information available - sign in for access.
No Supplementary Data.
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-01-01

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation includes access to most papers presented at the annual WEF Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC) and other conferences held since 2000. Subscription access begins 12 months after the event and is valid for 12 months from month of purchase. A subscription to the Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is included in Water Environment Federation (WEF) membership.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access. Access begins 12 months after the conference or event
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Learn about the many other WEF member benefits and join today
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more