Subscribe to Email Updates

Follow us on LinkedIn

Blog

How Much Does DustLess Surface Dust Suppressant Cost?

Published by Giles Bennett
Giles Bennett
on Tuesday 7 March 2023


Last updated on Tuesday 7 March 2023

This is a question we often get asked. People see the product DustLess demonstrated, either in real life or on a video on our website or a social media platform, and they think it looks good. Perhaps too good to be true, in fact. Surely this stuff costs a fortune, they say.

They’re right – sort of. It costs a fortune if you compare it at face value with the cost of water. However, there’s a lot more to the story than that, and that’s the purpose of this ‘explainer’ article.

DustLess vs. Tractor and Bowser

Before talking about the cost of DustLess, let’s first look at the costs associated with the more conventional means of surface dust suppression, namely water application with a tractor and bowser.

Have you considered all these costs, both tangible and intangible? Here are the main ones:

  1. Water. Lots of it. Indeed, depending on the size of your site, you might be using hundreds of thousands of litres of water through the course of a Summer. Typical bowsers with splash plates will often discharge a far greater quantity of water than is needed. It’s also good to consider whether this practice is both ethical and justifiable, against the backdrop of climate change and recent water shortages in parts of the UK. Furthermore, many construction sites don't have access to sufficiently large volumes of water 'on tap', so it needs to be imported to site with associated costs and carbon emissions.
  2. Time. Many people employ an operative to drive a tractor and bowser around the site. In hot, dry weather we hear that it’s a full-time job on some larger sites - ‘painting the Forth Bridge’ may be an appropriate analogy here. It’s good to put some actual numbers around that: how much do you pay that operative per hour? What’s the ‘opportunity cost’ of them spending all day driving a tractor round dampening down haul roads - or put another way, what could they be doing instead that would contribute more to your bottom line?
  3. Fuel. Until such time as all items of heavy plant are battery or solar-powered, the likelihood is that this method of dust suppression will involve burning fuel. Consider both the monetary cost of this, and its impact on your carbon footprint.
  4. Maintenance. Constant use of the tractor/bowser through the summer months carries obvious implications in terms of increased maintenance costs, along with other factors such as tyre wear.
  5. Hire or Capital Cost. Whether it is hired or purchased outright, large plant such as tractors and bowsers come at significant cost. If you own the plant, the cost of asset depreciation is easy to overlook but nevertheless very real.
  6. Surface Erosion. Continuous heavy watering of haul roads is very likely to hasten surface erosion, increasing the risk of potholes, rutting and subsidence. Furthermore, all that water must go somewhere. If it takes sediment with it from the road surface this could cause issues downstream such as blockage of drainage culverts, or contamination of public watercourses.

So the first stage in assessing the cost of DustLess should be to enumerate the cost implications of the above factors and be very clear about what dust suppression is currently costing you, per day or per week.

What is the Cost of DustLess?

For an initial DustLess surface treatment, we would typically recommend an application rate of one litre per square metre of surface area. Factors that might influence the required application rate are the terrain (factors such as gradient, camber, porosity, and density of the surface substrate, etc.) and traffic activity (number of vehicles per hour, traffic shear caused by turning, braking etc.)

A reasonable worst-case scenario might be a loaded dumper truck on a sloping, winding haul road with a loose gravel surface; in such a scenario we might recommend an application rate of 50% more than the above, i.e. 1.5 litres/m2.

The cost of the product will also depend on the volume. DustLess is supplied either in 25-litre drums, or in 1,040-litre IBCs. The price currently ranges from around £6.00 per litre for a single drum, to £3.20 per litre if you buy a single IBC, to just under £3.00 per litre if you buy 10 or more IBCs. All prices shown exclude VAT.

So based on the typical application rate given above of 1 litre/m2, a typical cost of the product would be around £3,000 per 1,000m2 treated.

Corgin also offer an application service and indeed we recommend this, as we have the trained engineers and custom-built equipment in-house to apply DustLess correctly and with precision. This means you can be sure you’re getting best value for your money. It doesn’t take long to do the application – indeed a typical application rate is around 4,000m2 per hour.

So, once you’ve had an initial DustLess treatment done, how long does it last?

How Long Does DustLess Last?

We acknowledge that this is an all-important question, because it’s the longevity of the product that justifies the cost to a large degree.

The lifespan of DustLess depends on several factors. Because the product is inherently waterproof and never evaporates, a single application of DustLess will often last as long as 6 or even 9 months. However there are a number of factors which can reduce its life significantly and if a number of these conspire, the effective lifespan may be as little as 6 weeks.

Here’s some of the main factors:

  1. Climate Conditions. Although the product, being water-insoluble, is weatherproof by definition, a wet climate will tend to shorten its lifespan. Why is this? DustLess works by absorbing into fine surface particles and increasing their weight, so they don’t become airborne so easily with the passage of traffic. Given frequent heavy rainfall or flash floods, some of the surface fines will be inevitably washed away, so the overall efficacy of the treatment can reduce over time.
  2. Wind. If there are untreated loose surfaces on either side or at either end of the treated surface, then a certain amount of dust will be blown or dragged onto the treated surface over time. Too much of this and the treatment could be prematurely overwhelmed.
  3. Surface type. Some substrates are more absorbent than others, for example soils with high clay content. Such materials will absorb more DustLess, and more quickly, which might shorten its life, especially if this is not taken into account in the initial treatment.
  4. Surface topography. Steep slopes or cambers will exacerbate the degrading effect of heavy rainfall (see point 1 above).
  5. Surface interference. Some haul roads require regular grading or remediation due to traffic rutting or due to loose material deposits from passing trucks. This will dilute the effect of the DustLess treatment.
  6. Traffic volume and type. The volume and type of vehicles moving  across the surface will have an impact on the treatment lifespan.  The heavier the traffic, or the higher the traffic volume, the greater the degrading affect caused by surface disturbance and migration. If vehicles moving across the surface are more typically accelerating, braking or turning there will be a higher level of churn, which will likely be detrimental to the product’s lifespan.

DustLess Case Studies

Here’s a couple of case studies which demonstrate the extremes of DustLess' lifespan spectrum:

  1. Infrastructure construction project, Milton Keynes area. We applied DustLess in July 2021 to a stretch of haul road with a very hard, dense surface, which was heavily trafficked by 8-wheeler tipper trucks. Following the application there was a very wet period of weather with frequent periods of torrential rain. The client reported that the treatment ceased to be effective after about 7 weeks.
  2. Gypsum mine, Leicestershire. Since February 2021 we’ve been supplying DustLess for application to access roads in a mine. The surface is frequently trafficked, though mostly by lighter vehicles such as jeeps. Because it’s underground, there is obviously no exposure to weather conditions. The client reports that he has to reapply the treatment approximately every 8 or 9 months

Conclusion

So, there you have it – a long answer to a short question!

In conclusion, DustLess is an excellent product and in many cases it will prove to be very cost-effective as a long-term means of dust control for trafficked surfaces. However it’s important that you do your homework thoroughly before ruling it either in or out as a solution, on the grounds of cost.

If you'd like more information on DustLess, please click here to get in touch with the team, or click on the image below to watch a video demonstrating the product.

With Dust.  With DustLess.