Alameda Dust


Catellus is completing a multi-year transformation of a former US Navy facility into a 280 acre, water-oriented, mixed-use development in Alameda, California. Residents have moved into homes, the new school is in session, and businesses are open.


The final phase of development is particularly challenging. Prevailing westerly winds blowing down the Oakland estuary pick up dust from the intermodal terminal, recycling works, and other construction sites. These winds blow across the Catellus site, which shares an eastern boundary with the community and a busy marina housing multiple yacht clubs.


Catellus and its environmental contractor Vista Environmental Consultants needed a dust monitoring solution that would provide real time alerts to minimize off-site impacts of fugitive dust and also provide accurate, defensible data to protect the relationships between the developers and the community.

Solar Powered Dust Monitor

The upwind monitor on the west boundary of the site was powered by batteries and a large solar panel.


The downwind monitor on east boundary of the site included a weather station.

Dust Apportionment

Site Apportionment Data Presented by Aeroqual Cloud


Aeroqual Dust Sentry PM10 monitors coupled with Aeroqual Cloud were the selected solutions. Three Dust Sentry systems were located on-site, one on the upwind boundary, one on the downwind boundary, and one fixed monitoring station adjacent to the sensitive marina area. A fully integrated meteorological station on one of the Dust Sentry’s added real-time data for wind direction, wind speed, relative humidity, temperature, and atmospheric pressure.

Catellus conservatively set alert thresholds that were only two-thirds of what the regulation required. A stop work alert was set for wind speeds higher than 20mph and a mitigation warning was set for exceedence levels of PM10 particulates.

The real-time, email and sms alerts allowed site superintendents to take prompt corrective actions, such as applying more water, or changing sweeping or concrete loading methods.

The web-based Aeroqual Cloud Plus calculated the amount of PM10 dust moving onto the site at the west boundary and how much was moving off the east boundary, showing the site’s contribution to nuisance dust.


Community meetings were quickly calmed by sharing reports and trends showing the levels substantially below 20μg/m³. The real-time alerts and defensible data had a positive effect on community relations, and reduced cleaning costs by and estimated $60,000 in two months.

Site contribution data, combined with wind roses, proved the low impact of any dust from the work site. When faced with an angry yacht owner whose gel-coating was ruined by dust, the developer was able to show recorded data proving that the wind direction was bringing metal dust from the recycler and railways to the northwest and not from the work site.

Similarly, the data showed a business owner claiming for overages in repainting that the source of dust was from upwind of the site.

GEO-Instruments supplied and installed the Aeroqual monitors used for the project, including the solar panel configuration for the upwind monitor and the weather station add-on for the downwind monitor.


Catellus has nearly 30 years of experience transforming former brownfields, military land, and airports into developments that include retail, commercial, residential, and other public uses.

Vista Environmental Consultants has delivered tailored, common-sense solutions for over 1,000 remediation projects throughout the Western USA.

Aeroqual develops integrated monitoring and software systems underpinned by industry-leading sensor technology to support environmental, health, and safety professionals in protecting people and the planet from the impact of air pollution.

GEO-Instruments provides geotechnical, structural, and environmental monitoring services from 13 offices across the USA. GEO-Instruments is an Aeroqual partner and distributor in North America.