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How to Reduce Dust with Dust Palliatives

dust control-with-Palliatives | norcal ag service

Excessive dust is both a health and environmental concern. To the individual, prolonged exposure to dust can create asthma like symptoms. To the environment, it can corrupt the overall air quality affecting a larger number of people, plants, and animals overtime.

Yet for as big a nuisance as dust is, it’s also a ubiquitous element of life. If you’ve ever driven down a dirt road before, you’ve probably come to a quick understanding of just how pervasive dust can be.

Indeed, dust is particularly problematic on dirt roads and construction sites where raw earth is frequently being disturbed. But common though this material may be, the public and personal health concerns remain.

Excessive dust is a problem that requires mitigation. The good news is that there are many types of dust control methods using palliatives.

Dust palliatives are used to mitigate the problem of dust clouds to eliminate the impact they have on the environment.

Today we take a sweeping look at vital information pertaining to this important solution.

Types of Dust Palliatives

There are two different types of dust palliatives—moisture increasing palliatives, and particle binding palliatives.

Both approaches perform more or less as their names suggest they would.

Moisture Increasing

The moisture increasing palliative will add moisture to the soil on a dust road or construction site. As a result, the individual particles stick together better, and don’t turn into airborne dust about contact.

This is the simpler, approach that can be as basic as adding water to a site. However, due to the simplicity of the technique, it might also be more temporary.

Particle Binding

Particle binding palliatives are longer lasting, and usually more intricate. Once again, the name describes the approach, the job of a particle binding palliative is to bind dust particles together.

It’s a chemical solution that can be implemented through a wide degree of different options. For example, there are organic options available, such as resins that are generally safe to use.

Organic dust palliatives are prized for having a low impact on the environment. They are usually non-toxic while still being effective and easy to use.

There are also more chemical heavy dust control suppression systems  that will also get the job done, but do run the risk contaminating area and pose harm to plant and wildlife.

Synthetic Solutions

Synthetic palliatives also have their place, however. Synthetic palliatives may in certain cases be better suited to the particulars of a work site. For example, they may be longer lasting, water soluble, or better equipped to withstand extreme temperatures.

With either type of dust palliative, there are multiple solutions available that will ultimately cater to a wide range of users.

Using compressed air oriented misting systems, dust palliatives can be quickly applied to a road or work area with relatively low amounts of preparation, making it a quick, stress free solution to the problem of airborne dust contaminants. There are also fog systems that can be used to remove dust particles.

Selecting the right approach for a given project is a highly individualized process that will require taking into consideration the specifics of the site. However, given the range of options that are available, there are products out there suited to every circumstance.

What’s the Best Dust Palliative?

As the need for dust palliatives becomes increasingly obvious for the purposes of your dirt road or worksite, it then becomes a matter of deciding which option suits your needs.

Best case scenario, you will be able to consider a natural, organic solution to your dust particle problem. The non-toxic approach, when possible, will ensure a low environmental impact, and an all around safe work area for humans, animals, and plants.

There are lots of different organic solutions to consider. Too many, in fact, to enumerate all of them here.

That said, here are a few organic options that might be appropriate for your property.


Magnesium chloride is considered one of the easiest and most cost effective methods of dust suppression.

Essentially, this substance works to capture the moisture already in the air, and use it to bind dirt together.

Magnesium Chloride works best in cooler, damp environments. Because it works with moisture that is already in the air, it won’t be as effective in hot dry climates.


Lignin is an organic approach usually used in areas that have lots of people walking in and out. For instance, you might use lignin in the parking lot of a business.

This material is naturally found in wood and works a little like glue, binding dust particles together as a surface dries, thus preventing it from forming clouds.

Lignin is often used to great success on clay like soil.


Last, we look at tall oil pitch. This palliative is organic, water soluble, and it poses no risk to water supplies.

Tall oil pitch is actually a paper processing by-product. All natural and completely safe, T.O.P is water soluble, non-combustible, and prized for its binding properties, and perhaps especially for its ability to work well in a variety of environments.

Main Takeaways

As you consider your dirt road or construction site, the matter of dust palliatives is rather straightforward. It’s not a matter of deciding if you need it, but which one to use.

Dust palliatives are an easy, affordable solution to your dust problem, and because of the diversity of options, most people won’t have a problem finding exactly what they are looking for.

The right dust palliative will ensure your property is a healthier place to be, making it an invaluable investment.

Get In Touch With Us

When looking to solve your dust problem, it helps to have the right people in your corner. Choosing the right palliative is only half the battle. You also need a reputable professional group to apply it for you.

That is why it is a good idea to choose a company as experienced as Norcal AG for your dust mitigation needs.

Contact us for a free quote and some guidance that will help solve your dust problem.

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What is Bioretention?

what-is-bioretention-soil | norcal ag service

Unchecked, stormwater runoff can be a dangerous contaminate that does more harm than good. But, since we are just talking about water here, the potential for useful repurposing is also enormous.

As concerns over stormwater runoff became increasingly more prevalent, productive solutions are ever more necessary.

That is where bioretention comes into play. A bioretention area can serve as a safe, useful solution to stormwater treatment.

Bioretention is a process that removes contaminants from storm runoff and improves the overall water quality so that it can be put to good use.

There are various means of accomplishing this (a basin or swale just to name two), but almost all of them require special landscaping features, and bioretention soil plays an integral part.

Today we will look at the ends and outs of bioretention management practices.

Bioretention Basin

The bioretention basin is what many people think of when stormwater treatment comes to mind. It’s actually a landscaping feature. A depression that collects storm runoff into a designated area where it is subsequently filtered through the area until it is purified.

The water then slowly collects towards nearby native areas where it can be used to practical effect.

These features are often used in residential areas, and can even look decorative. For example, a bioretention designed parking lot island might be a stormwater basin—where water is collected, utilized, and then subsequently siphoned by a nearby storm drain.

Though these systems sound very simple, they are actually quite nuanced and consist of multiple parts.

Bioretention basins may include a grass buffer strip. The purpose of this feature is to slow the water down, and also to collect surface contaminants so that they aren’t absorbed into the soil.

Additional vegetation may also be present to further serve this purpose.

Then there is also typically a ponding area where the water collects, then several layers of solution for nutrient and contamination absorption.  

Mulch, special soils, and sand beds all filter and percolate storm water to rid it of harmful substances and excessive nutrients while an underdrain system removes the water once it has been treated so that it can be usefully applied to nearby native areas.

You might also hear this system referred to as a rain garden. Essentially it’s like a nature’s water filter. It brings in contaminants and excessive moisture, and can in turn them into something beautiful.

Though this option is generally used for large to medium size parcels of land, the range of application is actually quite large. With tweaks to the design it can be optimized for climates both warm and cold.

Bioretention basins can even be used in high contamination areas like gas stations with the right equipment. However, in these sites elaborate filters may be needed for quality control.

Bioretention Swale (Bioswale)

Similar to the basin, we have the bioretention swale. Or, as it is also known, the bioswale. The bioswale is often seen in urban or suburban settings, and can be a simple, low cost solution to storm runoff mitigation.

This water harvesting system features landscaped depressions that disrupt the flow of water at the bottom of a descending side slope.

They offer lots of real estate for attractive greenscape, but do take up a considerable amount of space making them difficult to use in cooperation with larger sidewalk areas.

In instances of heavy rain, they are invaluable assets. They are also generally safe in the event of accidental pedestrian foot traffic, and additional prevention strategies are also possible to make sure this risk is minimized.

To the layperson the difference between this system and the basin is actually quite minimal. The most substantial distinguishing feature pertains to the quantity of water that either is able to accommodate.

Bioswales are usually made for larger amounts of water, which is why you might see them being applied near a highway or city street where proper water collection is of extreme importance.

The importance of bioswales in urban communities is currently experiencing an increase in awareness. As a result, there are many initiatives across the country to improve their presence in communities that could use them. For more information on this trend visit NACTO.

Bioretention Soil

Last, there is bioretention soil (also called bioretention media). This material isn’t quite as obvious as a big swale or basin, but that is only because it works behind the scenes.
In any serious bioretention project, bioretention soil will be at the heart of the operation.

The name of bioretention soil does well to describe its function. Essentially, it is just soil made with the right draining and purification properties.

The right soil will ensure that a basin or swale is able to drain properly and work to its intended effect. Done wrong and the water will pool uselessly at the surface.

Though simple relative to impressive landscaping feats illustrated above, proper bioretention media is actually harder to find than one might assume. While experts are all in agreement as to what it should do, not everyone is adequately equipped to come up with a mix that performs the intended function.

Ideally, bioretention soil will both drain well, and facilitate vegetation and even tree growth.

This means finding the right mix of draining properties, such as sand, while still creating a nutritionally viable blend.

Right now, conventional wisdom indicates that a proper mix should include 5% clay make up, and 12% fines.

However, in application, different mixes with a higher level of fine presence are also finding success. In other words? Science has yet to find the perfect combination.

Get In Touch With Us

When planning a bioretention strategy it helps to have the right people in your corner. As illustrated above, the right soil remedy can be the difference between success and failure. Finding the right product is integral to success.

Contact us today for a free quote so that you can get your project up and running the right way.