Monitoring airborne particulate matter produced during the demolition of a university building
Jun Tsuji, Heather Moody, Steven Wathen, Sebastian Brown, Rebekah Carlisle, Elizabeth Collins, Hunter Dart, Raven Flores, Khyra King, Andrew McGaughy, Casie Nadasky, Jerry Patrick, Alexis Pocza, Siena Heights University
The construction and demolition of university buildings can potentially expose a dense population of youth to harmful air pollutants, such as particulate matter. In June 2018 on the Adrian campus of Siena Heights University, the 95-year-old, brick-faced Sage Union was torn down with an excavator and a water spray cannon to suppress airborne particulates. To assess the effectiveness of this mitigation method, levels of 2.5 micron and 10.0 micron airborne particulate matter were monitored using a PurpleAir dual laser counter before, during, and after the demolition. Over a 24 hour period spanning the second and third days of the demolition, the average 2.5 micron particle pollution level exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Ambient Air Quality Primary and Secondary Standards. In contrast, the 10.0 micron particulate levels were below the standards throughout the demolition. The effectiveness of the water spray cannon, the influence of weather on the particle pollution levels, and related health concerns will be discussed.