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Air Quality Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce air quality impacts from low-head hydropower development.

The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce air quality impacts of a project depending upon site- and project-specific conditions. Impacts to air quality are related to project emissions (e.g., fugitive dust, air pollutant releases). Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when taken into account during the siting and design phase.

Develop a final set of mitigation measures for the project in consultation with the appropriate federal resource management agencies and with stakeholders. Conduct these consultations as part of the project development process, preferably prior to final project siting and design.

Siting and Design Mitigation Measures

Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:

  • Surface access roads and on-site roads with aggregate materials, wherever appropriate.
  • Minimize the amount of disturbance and areas cleared of vegetation.
  • Stage construction to limit the exposed area at any one time, whenever practical.
  • Require emission control devices on drilling and other equipment and specify the use of low-sulfur fuels to reduce emissions.

General Mitigation Measures

General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of a low-head hydropower project include:

  • Use dust abatement techniques on unpaved, unvegetated surfaces to minimize airborne fugitive dust during earthmoving activities; prior to clearing; before excavating, backfilling, compacting, or grading; and during blasting.
  • Post and enforce speed limits to reduce airborne fugitive dust from vehicular traffic.
  • Limit site access to authorized vehicles.
  • Revegetate disturbed areas as soon as possible after disturbance. (This should include interim revegetation along roadbeds, once heavy construction is completed.)
  • When possible, schedule surface-disturbing or dust-generating activities during periods of low winds to reduce fugitive dust.
  • Conduct slash burning, if necessary, in compliance with open burning permit requirements.
  • Cover construction materials and stockpiled soils if they are a source of fugitive dust.
  • Cover storage piles at concrete batch plants if they are a source of fugitive dust.
  • Train workers to handle construction materials and debris during construction and dismantlement to reduce fugitive emissions.
  • Keep soil moist while loading into dump trucks.
  • Keep soil loads below the freeboard of the truck.
  • Minimize drop heights when loaders dump soil into trucks.
  • Tighten gate seals on dump trucks.
  • Cover dump trucks before traveling on public roads.
  • When feasible, shut down idling vehicles and equipment.
  • Power compressors and pumps by electric motors where strict air emission rules would preclude the use of gas or oil.