The Indian Trail Improvement District Board of Supervisors approved a test dust control project on a half-mile section of 130th Avenue North.

Based on findings presented at the board’s May meeting, ITID staff recommended a test of one of the more cost-effective dust control products under consideration. Materials will be supplied at no cost for the trial period.

The Soil2O dust control product proposed by GelTech Solutions of Jupiter is for a six-month trial application along a half-mile length of 130th Avenue North between Persimmon Blvd. and 60th Street North, which has shown a very high level of traffic-generated dust.
The chemical is composed of sodium polyacrylate cross-linked polymers that biodegrade with exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun, according to the ITID staff report.

The product is environmentally friendly and can easily be applied topically with the use of the district’s water truck without the need for expensive equipment, labour-intensive soil preparation or soil stabilisation.

The product has been used successfully and cost-effectively to substantially reduce dust on unpaved roads caused by traffic grinding the shell rock base into a fine powder. It requires application once a week for optimal results, and can reduce watering of roads by up to 50%. The product is colourless and odourless.

The test application was to commence shortly after the June 10 vote, but supervisor Jennifer Hager suggested that they wait until the dry season to conduct the experiment.

"Now, it would be pointless," Hager said. "We need to wait until the end of the wet season."

ITID manager Jim Shallman thanked Dan Eagle of GelTech for offering to conduct the test.

Supervisor Gary Dunkley said that he did not want to rule out asphalt paving alternatives, including the relatively inexpensive chip seal process. "Some people don’t want chemicals on their road," Dunkley said. "Chip seal would be a more permanent solution."

Hager said the chemical being proposed is not harmful. "It’s pretty good stuff," she said. "It’s environmentally friendly."

Supervisor Michelle Damone made a motion to approve the test, which carried unanimously.

The fiscal impact of the six-month trial is approximately $500, which is the cost to retrofit the district’s water truck to accommodate the sprayers.

If the product is chosen for permanent use by the district, the cost of the application is estimated to be $8,400 per mile, per year for the first year and $7,800 per mile thereafter, which was the lowest estimate for dust control products. The others ranged from $9,504 to $21,000 per mile.

Soil2O was also the most environmentally friendly product, composed of a material that is used extensively in the agriculture industry and in the soils of potted plants to help them retain moisture, as well as by florists to keep flowers fresh.

The disadvantage is that reapplication of the product is required on a weekly basis to be effective, because it biodegrades quickly when exposed to the sun.

The chemical option was a less expensive alternative to paving methods, whose cost could only be justified on more heavily travelled roads.

For unpaved roads where dust control products will not be used due to cost restrictions and lower traffic volume, further investigation may be necessary for proper selection of road base material to reduce dust, according to the staff report.

Dust control products generally fall into four categories. The first two are petroleum-based products, such as emulsified asphalts, but they are considered environmentally hazardous, according to the report. The third category includes such non-petroleum products as lignosulfates, which are a by-product of the wood pulping industry, but they tend to leach and run off during heavy rains, giving off odours and staining soil.

The fourth category, synthetic polymers, are generally stable, durable, do not leach or give off appreciable odours, and have proven to be the most environmentally friendly, which was why ITID staff focused primarily on those products.

In other business, the board approved a resolution to receive a $100,000 grant that will pay for improvements already made at Hamlin House over the last five years, and further authorised $200,000 in matching funds through the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.