PM 2.5 and Staying Compliant

Thursday, March 9, 2017

PM 2.5The term PM 2.5 is well-known in the air pollution control world. PM stands for particulate matter and PM 2.5 refers to very fine dust particles in the air that are 2.5 microns or less in diameter and includes inhalable particles small enough to penetrate the thoracic region of the respiratory system. In the way of reference, fine beach sand is roughly 90 microns in diameter, human hair is 50-70 microns in diameter, and particles of dust, pollen and mold are typically under 10 microns. While particulate matter 2.5 is inhalable, it is also invisible except with use of an electron microscope.

Particulate matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) is important because of the potential health consequences – particularly respiratory and cardiovascular – associated with exposure to these fine particles. Smaller particulate matter is of even greater concern for human health than larger PM since smaller particles remain airborne for longer distances and can be inhaled deeply into the lungs. The potential consequences of PM 2.5 emissions are both short-term and longer-term.

Plants who are exceeding PM 2.5 emissions limits may well be operating with an outdated or inefficient Air Pollution Control (APC) system, sub-optimal fabric choices for adequately addressing both fine and larger PM, or a poorly maintained baghouse. As discussed in a recent blog post, continuously monitoring the differential pressure in a baghouse is an important tool for assessing the resistance provided by the fabric cloth of the bags and their collected layer of dust. Increased differential pressure may be an indication of system cleaning problems which may result in emissions issues; decreased differential pressure may be an indication of bag leaks or ruptures, which can also contribute to PM compliance issues.

Baghouse InspectionRegular, proactive preventative baghouse maintenance is one of the best tools for assuring compliance with PM 2.5. Baghouse inspections by trained and certified baghouse maintenance professionals cover all components of the APC system including the cleaning mechanism, dust removal mechanisms from the hoppers, inspection of the compressed air equipment (if applicable), and both external and internal bag inspection. Depending on the type of baghouse – reverse-air, shaker or pulse-jet – inspections would focus on bag tensioning and connections at the tubesheet or the condition of the bags, cages and compressed air delivery systems.

Contact us at C.P. Environmental – along with sister dry filtration service company, United Process Control – for help with implementing inspection and maintenance practices to control and minimize the emissions of fine particulate matter. We can also help with upgrading or repairing your existing APC system as well as filter bag selection issues which may be impacting PM emissions compliance. When it comes to PM 2.5, you want to ensure that all your bases are fully covered.