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Environmental Answer To A Dusty Problem

30 November 2001

Done And Dusted

The dusty rural road may soon be a thing of the past, if trials of a new product are successful this summer.

Research by a Mt Maunganui company is aimed at finding a special soluble and environmentally acceptable product that can be easily added to water to dampen down the dust.

Funding from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology through its Technology New Zealand scheme enabled the small Bay of Plenty company, Chemsol, to tap into the research know-how within Industrial Research Ltd (IRL), combining its expertise in industrial water treatment solutions with IRL's expertise.

Dust Arrest, is an innovative answer to a vexing problem that, up until now, has usually been answered with applications of water or oil.

Chemsol Managing Director, Ron Harley, says New Zealand's changeable weather conditions make it challenging to come up with a reliable, hard-working dust suppressant.

"Roads are treated with a suppressant, which gets washed away in the rain and then the dry, windy conditions start the problem all over again. Our customers came to us asking for help and we saw a real need for something that would be easy to apply, and not hazardous if it washed into the water supplies, and - most importantly -stood a good chance of resisting rain," he says.

Chemsol identified the opportunity for a product, and funding from Technology New Zealand meant that they were able to proceed with the development of a new product that had to meet strict criteria of environmental acceptability and durability as well as being highly water-repellent.

Mr Harley says effective dust suppressants are needed in a variety of areas, from new housing areas to rural roads, development areas or building and stockpile sites. He says dust is a real problem to homeowners, and also orchardists, growers and farmers in many cases.

Chemsol will trial Dust Arrest in a test site in a built-up city area as soon as the weather is dry enough. Mr Harley says trials would have been completed sooner, except that the road they'd identified as a particular hazard got the ultimate dust suppressant treatment - seal.


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