Ad: How EMSOL lowered air pollution at a major recycling site

Real time analytics and alerts helped London’s leading waste management firm tackle on-site air quality issues, with EMSOL’s data-heavy reporting driving necessary change.

It’s often been said that data, not money, makes the world go round. That’s certainly true in the 21st Century, at least, and a recent UK-first is proof of how facts, stats, and figures can drive real change. 

Late-August saw waste management and skip hire specialists Powerday partner with Merton Council and air and noise pollution management tech experts EMSOL in a bid to proactively reduce the impact of one London recycling centre. The success relied on information gleaned from in-depth assessments of the site and real-terms atmospheric conditions, which had never been focused on a facility of this kind before. 

‘Powerday are pleased to have assisted Merton Borough Council in their project of measuring and improving air quality and noise control in the Weir Road industrial area. By having the EMSOL air and noise quality measuring equipment installed at site, it has allowed us to focus on some operational improvements which minimises any impact our recycling operations has on the local environment,’ said Chris Batterbee, Environmental Compliance Manager at Powerday. 

‘Powerday have been excellent innovation partners. The team were proactive and committed to reducing pollution at their Weir Road site, using EMSOL’s impact platform to identify pollution causing activity, record mitigations, provide pollution event insight and prove responsible emissions management. A new use case for EMSOL, this deployment has proven our technology in Waste Management,” added Damian Willingale, Head of Operations at EMSOL. 

The investigation found that 15-minute average peaks of PM10 particulate matter regularly reached levels Merton Council had specified as high enough to trigger a warning system: 150µg/m3. While this stopped short of the alert threshold — 250µg/m3 — it was still high enough to cause significant concerns. Simply put, those working on-site and in the immediate vicinity would likely be exposed to these levels on a regular basis. 

Using all the information provided by EMSOL’s pollution root cause analytics and real time alert notifications, Powerday had by-the-minute data on emissions levels, making it simple to accurately pinpoint reasons behind pollution spikes. This meant it was possible for Powerday to identify relatively simply changes that could be implemented to bring air pollution down significantly.

In this instance, a solution was found in the installation of a water sprinkler bar at the entrance of the site’s recycling shed, acting as a curtain to contain dust particles within the building, rather than allowing particles to escape into the atmosphere. A rotating sprinkler system was later introduced, helping further reduce the pollution problem. 

The results of the analysis went much further than this, too. In addition to air pollution levels, noise pollution was also assessed, with peaks identified. A Powerday employee then correlated the times to deliveries, allowing management to tweak schedules to ensure deliveries will now only take place between 6AM and 4PM Monday to Friday, and 6AM and 1PM on Saturdays. Cross-referencing both datasets then led to stricter enforcement of anti-idling, lower both PM10 in the atmosphere and noise. A prime example of tech-based reporting leading directly not just to infrastructural changes, but also behavioural and operational.

For Powerday, the efforts to bring air pollution down at Weir Road reflect the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and environmental safeguarding. To date, the firm has invested significantly on plant and equipment to offer 100% diversion from landfill, with services for construction and demolition clients, in addition to local authorities and commercial enterprises. This includes the recovery of valuable resources used to produce refuse derived fuel and solid recovered fuel, which is utilised in energy-from-waste plants across the world. Adding EMSOL’s comprehensive root cause analysis and real time notifications has only elevated these green credentials even more, setting a benchmark for others to follow. 


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