What's in the Air?

Lynda and Morgan from INHALE Hamilton went out monitoring by bike - and they brought a camera! Take a look at what data they gathered on a summer ride through Hamilton. 

This summer, Morgan Wong and I have biked all across Hamilton: as far east as Windermere, south to Rymal Road and west into the verdant green of Cootes Paradise. When you spend that many hours on roads and trails, you come across all kinds of air. Here are a few of the best examples.


Say hi to Morgan! This site is Wentworth Metals Recycling on 495 Wentworth St. North. WMR is a scrap metal recycler, active at this site since 1981. Their site is a busy one, and for a variety of reasons remains unpaved. In and out traffic here is usually busy, and as a result this facility has a chronic problem with fugitive dusts and mud drag-out. Once on the road, the settled dusts are re-suspended by the normal traffic flowing up and down Wentworth.


This is a great example of re-suspended road dust. This picture was taken at Triple M Metals’ Brampton St. location. This was taken while I was helping Morgan collect data for BAM! Triple M is also a scrap metal recycler; the google streetview of the location provides a better view of their setup. As with WMR, TMM is also a largely unpaved site.


            This is an entirely different kind of particulate matter exposure. This was taken at the corner of James St. N and Burlington St. The city workers were re-lining the inside of the water pipes with a plastic coating, a process called as “Cured-in-place-piping.” This coating uses an epoxy-resin system to prevent leaks. Our monitors went a bit nuts here, and there was definitely an associated smell of plastic. The actual impact on the air remains unclear (beyond our Particulate Matter Count), but this study suggests that the process can lead to heightened levels of styrene in water flowing through the pipes for up to 80 days after installation.


            This picture (apologies for the resolution) was taken at the new West Harbour Go Station construction site on James St. N. The grey cloud is a fugitive dust emission, very likely resulting from a cement cutter (possibly used without water spray). This isn’t the first time we have observed fugitive emissions at this site.


Morgan and I just after our 100-in-One Day “Air Quality Monitoring on the Pipeline Trail” intervention, proudly holding our monitors. Credit for the photo goes to Shelly Cameron courtesy of Snapd Hamilton.

Got some great photos of fugitive dusts? Post them in the comments or send them direct to us at [email protected] for a chance to be in the next blog post yourself!

Mitchell Blau,

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