A multistory office building was being constructed on a former manufacturing site in downtown Baltimore’s harbor area. The site had a significant amount of hexavalent chromium waste, contained below a surface cap—which was slated to be disturbed as part of constructing the building’s substructure.
This urban construction site was adjacent to many commercial buildings, residential neighborhoods, marinas, and roadways. The downtown Baltimore community was highly concerned the project would release dust into the air, creating human health risks. Given the site was on the water, it was subject to fog and erratic winds, like any shoreline property. To complicate matters, there were many other local sources of particulate emissions around the construction site.
In addition, state and federal regulators, worried about the environmental impact, brought in significant project oversight. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wanted an effective and efficient way to measure construction and site perimeter emissions in real time. This would enable the project team to control any potential dust release.
For the construction site, Triumvirate Environmental provided six fixed air monitoring stations. They included four placed around the site perimeter; one at the National Aquarium entrance (sensitive receptor); and another at a city fire station, which was slightly remote from the site (ambient conditions).
Daily, our team placed an additional eight mobile air monitoring stations at various construction locations. These included active operation sites, soil storage piles, and other areas that could potentially generate dust. Each monitoring station had a particulate monitor to measure dust levels at various particle sizes.
All the monitoring stations could operate automatically and be remotely monitored. Our Greenlight™ Environmental Monitoring System could take data feeds from all the stations and integrate them together. The Greenlight™ System also connected with one full feature weather station and two wind speed and direction sensors. These allowed the system to accurately measure the varying wind flows impacting the site.
The system live-streamed the results to project personnel and to the EPA; it also issued alerts and notifications via email and text. The data the Greenlight™ System collected allowed the construction project to proceed daily, sensitive to any potential risk it was contaminating the surrounding community.
The perimeter air monitoring system operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for nine months, with an uptime of 97%. The fixed air monitoring system automatically could adjust its sensitivity levels to give an accurate reading of on-site dust. It could compensate for upwind background particulate from off-site sources. This way, the system could detect and identify any high dust results unassociated with the construction project. When humidity levels exceeded 75%, the system automatically raised the dust level presence threshold levels. These capabilities allowed the project managers to avoid any unnecessary forced construction shutdowns.