Fugitive dust emissions from abrasive blasting

Download the abrasive blasting calculator to help you estimate the releases of the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI) substances.

Abrasive blasting uses particles of sand or other material to clean or texturize a surface. The substances of concern from this activity are criteria air contaminants (Part 4 substances). Depending on the composition of the abrasive material and the material being abraded, other contaminants (such as metals) may also be released.

The calculator focusses on releases to air and uses default emission factors. It can be adapted to use site-specific emission factors. If you want to use a site-specific emission factor, enter it in the emission factor column, but be sure to convert the units correctly. 

The spreadsheet calculators use emission factors based on uncontrolled emission sources. If you use an emission control device and the default emission factor is uncontrolled, use this formula to adjust the spreadsheet calculation:

Controlled emissions = uncontrolled emission x ((100 - control efficiency)/100)

Since NPRI reporting thresholds are for the facility as a whole, you may need to combine the air releases you calculate with releases from other sources at your facility.

The following sections explain how the spreadsheet calculator works.

Suggested estimation methodology: emission factor

The general equation for estimation using an emission factor is:

E = A x EF

where:

  • E = emissions
  • A = activity rate
  • EF = emission factor

Input data

The emission factors for estimating total particulate matter emissions from abrasive blasting operations are available at three different wind speeds. Determine the annual mean wind speed for your area using data available on the Climate data web site. The emission factors for PM10 (particulate matter with a diameter less than or equal to 10 micrometres) and PM2.5 (particulate matter with a diameter less than or equal to 2.5 micrometres) do not vary with wind speed.

Substance releases

Part 4 criteria air contaminant (CAC) releases

Substance Chemical Abstracts Service registry number (CAS RN)1 Emission factor (EF)Footnote 2 EF Units
Total particulate matter (TPM) [@ 8 kilometers per hour (km/hr) wind speed] No single CAS RN applies to this substance 27.00 kilograms (kg)/tonne of abrasive used
Total particulate matter (TPM) [@ 16 km/hr wind speed] No single CAS RN applies to this substance 55.00 kg/tonne of abrasive used
Total particulate matter (TPM) [@ 24 km/hr wind speed] No single CAS RN applies to this substance 91.00 kg/tonne of abrasive used
Particulate matter less than or equal to 10 micrometers (µm) (PM10) No single CAS RN applies to this substance 13.00 kg/tonne of abrasive used
Particulate matter less than or equal to 2.5 µm (PM2.5) No single CAS RN applies to this substance 1.30 kg/tonne of abrasive used
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