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Industrial Facility – Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Study


Industrial Facility – Indoor Air Quality Study

San Francisco Bay Area, CAIndustrial Facility IAQ Study

Industrial Coin Counting Facility Summary:

Client was interested in measuring affects to IAQ, specifically increased airborne particulates, due to new coin counting machinery in an industrial facility.

IAQ of Coin Counting Investigation Process:

HBS conducted a complete and comprehensive interior air quality inspection to determine possible contaminants and pathways. An inspection of the industrial machinery and mechanical systems, including plumbing and HVAC, was performed. After inspection a 7-day particle counter survey was proposed, accepted and performed in the main coin-counting area. Observations and data were analyzed to develop hypotheses regarding particulate contaminants and possible sources, and to address potential air quality improvements.

IAQ of Coin Counting Investigation Highlights:

A 7-Day Laser Particle Counter survey was performed to measure fine and ultra-fine respirable airborne particles to measure the industrial facility Indoor Air Quality. Particle counter was placed in the center of the work area, in the breathing zone for a majority of workers in this area. Particles were measured on 6 channels, measuring particle sizes in the 0.3 micron, 0.5 micron, 1.0 micron, 2.5 micron, 5.0 micron and 10.0 micron ranges. A 3-Minute air sample was taken every 15 minutes for 7 days and data was logged and graphed.

The chart below plots particle mass vs. time for a 1-week period, with Particle Mass on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. The different colored lines represent different particle sizes:Particle Counter Graph

The graph shows strong correlation with operation of the coin counting machines and increased particulates in the air samples. The mechanical agitation caused by the action of the process apparently allows significant particulates to enter the air in the facility. The survey revealed significant spikes in particulate counts when the machines were started, with significant reductions when the facility was not in operation, i.e. at night. The current HVAC systems did appear to reduce airborne particulate levels over time, via filtration. However, the current HVAC filtration system was insufficient to reduce particle counts to levels measured when the machines were idle.


Industrial Facility Indoor Air Quality Particulates


As fine and ultrafine particulates are regulated by both the EPA and OSHA and have been shown to be detrimental to respiratory health, this investigation revealed the need for corrective action for the industrial facility Indoor Air Quality. The current machinery appeared to be the likely source of increased interior particulates. While workers in the short term had been wearing particulate filtration masks as PPE (personal protective equipment) as required by OSHA, the client wished to explore options to improve overall IAQ in the machinery areas. HBS worked with client and HVAC engineers to design a system that would segregate the machinery from the workers, as well as force airflow around the machinery away from workers and directly into an improved particulate filtration system. This system not only improved IAQ by reducing particulates in the work areas, but also reduced exterior air pollution by filtering air that was exhausted to the exterior. The system was in compliance with the BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Management District), The CARB (California Air Resources Board) and the EPA.


Follow up testing and monitoring verified the effectiveness of the upgrades and that the facility had and will continue to attain high Interior Air Quality.




Industrial Facility Conclusion:

Our investigation revealed deficiencies in IAQ and possible sources. HBS recommended further testing to verify sources and quantify specific contaminants.   Our team worked with client to propose long term, permanent solutions. HBS also provided independent third-party testing and verification that the implemented solutions were effective, and that IAQ was measurably improved. Periodic monitoring will assure systems continue to operate as designed, and assure high quality IAQ into the future.

Our client’s pro-active approach to investigation and remediation identified potential IAQ problems and worked with experts to implement effective solutions. Independent testing and continual monitoring assure that new systems operate as designed. The end result is a cleaner operation with significantly improved IAQ.

HBS Team:

David Sasse, Senior Environmental Inspector, CMI, CIE

Council-Certified Microbial Investigator

Council-Certified Indoor Environmentalist

Board-awarded by the American Council for Accredited Certification







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