Dust comprises of a wide range of particle size fractions.  Larger particles cause deposited dust and pose a nuisance risk.  Finer material is defined as suspended particulate, and can travel large distances downwind and remain suspended in air for long periods. 


The portion that poses the greatest potential health effect is particulate less than 10 µm in diameter, and the subfraction less than 2.5 µm in diameter (known as PM10 and PM2.5).  Ambient concentrations of the PM10 fraction are controlled by national standards and State/regional regulations in both Australia and New Zealand.  Guidelines are also in place for PM2.5 concentrations, and standards for PM2.5 may not be too far away.  For more information about how Air Quality Professionals can provide clients with expertise around the health impacts of fine particulates, click here.

Dust deposition is the settling of dust onto surfaces.  The effects of dust deposition can be subjective and are dependent on the sensitivity of the receiving environment.  For example, dust fallout on a road or rural farmland may not be a nuisance even at relatively high deposition rates.


Typically, the most common areas of concern from dust deposition arise at residential properties or similar sensitive locations such as retail premises or schools.  Nuisance impacts can include the visual soiling of clean surfaces, such as cars, window ledges, and household washing; and dust deposits on flowers, fruit or vegetables.

Assessment of actual or potential dust nuisance can be complex if a number of different dust sources are involved, and if background dust (naturally occurring) can be significant.  Measurement of dust concentration and/or deposition may require the combined use of several different methods that measure upwind and downwind dust as well as both short term and longer term levels.

Services provided by Air Quality Professionals in investigation of deposited or nuisance dust issues include the following:

■  Scoping of dust nuisance issues to determine

    extent of impacts and appropriate investigation


■  Source apportionment – what are the main

    contributors to off-site dust

■  Targeted and strategic long term dust control


■  Dust measurement at source, and 

    ambient/community monitoring

■  Atmospheric dispersion modelling

■  Benchmarking/validation of model against

    known or measured impacts

■  Impact risk assessment interpreted from model


■  Stakeholder, community and regulatory


■  Emission control equipment options, trialling, 

    and performance evaluation

■  Management Plans

■  Environmental Impact Statements

■  Works Approvals, Development & Planning


■  Licence conditions negotiations

■  Buffer distance recommendations

■  Independent peer review of assessments

    prepared by others

■  Credible and experienced expert witness


We have experience in assessment of dust discharges from the following types of industries and municipal activities:

mining and quarrying

lime and cement works

port export/import


wood products



land development

■  coal, aggregate, metals and minerals
■  stockpiles, conveyance
■  concentrating plants

■  raw materials handling, stockpiles
■  kiln emissions
■  cooling, milling
■  product export

■  stockpiles
■  shiploading
■  unloading, dispatch

■  metal refining
■  asphalt, glass, fertiliser
■  cereals, milk powder, dry foods
■  materials import, export, stockpiling

■  chipping and sawdust
■  drying, sawmilling
■  pellets manufacture
■  particleboard and MDF
■  pulp & paper


■  bulk earthworks
■  excavations
■  material stockpiles
■  monitoring and management plans


■  licence reviews/approvals
■  evidence for prosecutions/defences
■  policy research and background

■  reverse amenity impacts
■  neighbour conflicts/concerns
■  buffer distances


© Air Quality Professionals Pty Ltd, 2014