Colas: Les Houches asphalt mixing plant

The project

When Colas opened an asphalt plant near the picturesque Alpine village of Les Houches, they knew they would face questions from the local community around air quality and odour. They wanted to take a positive, proactive approach, proving their good intentions by engaging with the local community early and having a robust monitoring solution in place. Colas turned to UBY to provide that solution.

Picture: a Colas asphalt mixing plant – for illustration purpose only

The challenge

Les Houches is an unspoiled mountain village, five miles from Mont Blanc, and near both the Swiss and Italian borders. Knowing that concerns around the asphalt plant emissions and products were likely, Colas wanted to assure residents of this municipality that their way of life and wellbeing would not be adversely affected.
Colas held an open day, emphasising that they were committing to a detailed study of the effects of their plant, the results of which would be shared openly with the local community. They also made clear they welcomed feedback from residents, including complaints, and pledged to take any action suggested by the study and feedback.

Project start: January 2022

uby solution

To study air composition around the plant, UBY installed multi-purpose air-quality sensors which were strategically placed near the emissions source and at the point where the highest impact would be experienced. The sensors were able to identify direct pollutants and their concentrations in real time, sending alerts to managers when thresholds were breached.

To complete the analysis and also measure smoke dispersion, a weather station and dispersion monitoring software were added to enable smoke propagation to be instantly assessed visually through the platform. One MOS/VOC* sensor and one PID sensor (photo- ionisation detection) were deployed.

*VOC: Volatile Organic compound / MOS: Metal Oxide Semiconductor / PID:  Photoionisation Detection

The UBY Environment Platform

The project is ongoing, but reported benefits so far include:
  • Good community relations, founded on presentation of objective data and a thorough, conclusive study
  • Identification of potentially polluting activities, and consequent action
  • Conclusive results showing a lack of correlation between plant activities and complaints

Benefits for the worksite

With a robust monitoring solution in place, the client is able to align their ongoing activities with feedback from local residents, assess the tangible impact of the plant on the surrounding area and, if necessary, take appropriate action.

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