The use of dust blowers is discouraged among City of Vernon staff due to high particulate matter in the spring. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

The use of dust blowers is discouraged among City of Vernon staff due to high particulate matter in the spring. (Caitlin Clow - Morning Star)

Dusty Vernon streets sweep in fewer advisories in 2021

Despite only 6.6 millimetres of rain, dust advisories on the decline

Fewer complaints and dust advisories have clouded over Vernon this year.

The city ramped up its spring sweeping program, which began March 10 and wrapped up April 23 around town.

Covering 197 kilometres of sidewalk and more than 615 lane kilometres of road, contractors worked an average of 16 hours a day, seven days a week.

There were 12 dust advisories issued for the region this spring, compared to 13 in 2020, 20 in 2019 and 14 in 2018.

This spring also saw a substantial drop in rainfall, only 6.6 millimetres. There were 20 mm last spring, 25 in 2019 and nearly 60 in 2018.

The city only received six dust complaints in 2021, compared to nine in both 2019 and 2020 and 12 in 2018.

“It’s long overdue in the community for folks with asthma and other issues,” Coun. Scott Anderson said at the May 25 council meeting.

Part of the success came from the use of a new vacuum sweeper.

“It was very effective and did exactly what we were hoping it would do,” operations services director James Rice said.

Sand applied to roadways as winter traction material can be a significant source of spring road dust and have a detrimental effect on air quality, according to a city report.

Therefore Vernon changed its winter grit material to align closely with ministry suggest best practices.

Further improvements are planned prior to spring 2022 including installing additional air quality monitor stations, increasing sweeping activities through the winter and enhanced staff training relating to snow and ice control so that over-sanding does not take place.

Anderson would also like to see fewer leaf blowers used to move dust.

READ MORE: Six more air quality sensors to be deployed in Vernon: city staff

READ MORE: May snowfall keeps Vernon resort on its toes


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Environment