Dust Fall Monitoring

What is dustfall and why is it a concern?

Dust refers to solid particles in the air that can reduce visibility and once settled, create unnecessary maintenance issues and smother vegetation.

There is an important distinction between the fraction of particles that quickly fall out of the air (dustfall) and the portion that remains airborne for long periods (particulate matter). PRPA actively measures the concentrations of the smallest airborne particles (PM2.5 and PM10) that pose a risk to human health.

How is dustfall measured?

The Prince Rupert Port Authority monitors dustfall in the Westview area, Port Edward and Ridley Island.

Dustfall is monitored through the use of canisters that collect settled dust over one-month periods. The samples are filtered to 20 microns and analyzed for fixed (inorganic, e.g. road dust), volatile (organic, e.g. plant pieces, small insects) and total dustfall, as well as dust make-up, i.e. how much is plant pieces, insect parts, mineral dust, etc.).

Dustfall monitoring can be limited by the difficulty in establishing singular events that may influence the monitoring period, and by the variety of sources that can influence any given sample.  Even in close proximity to an industrial activity, dustfall measures are significantly impacted by weather, wind direction, and other sources such as road dust, pollen, insects, or residential wood burning. For this reason, weather data, visual observances and neighbourhood feedback are extremely important supplements to the dustfall monitoring program.

How much dustfall is acceptable?

The British Columbia Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy has established dustfall objectives. The Prince Rupert Port Authority measures itself against these objectives. Visit here to view.