The benefits of dustless (wet) sandblasting

Ruth D. Adamson
Is Dustless Blasting Really Dustless? - Sandblasting Machines

The Sablage sans poussière produced by sandblasting a hard surface ends up in the air and on nearby surfaces. It also takes some time to set up before and clean up after sandblasting is completed.

Dustless (also known as wet) blasting is possible with Clemco products, which suppress dust from abrasive blasting.

Sandblasting of this type is performed by placing water rings at the blast hose’s nozzle. The hose pumps water into the media and air mixture, causing the dust to take on the consistency of a mist as the abrasive collects moisture.

Dustless blasting can also be accomplished with Wetblast FLEX, an all-in-one wet blasting system.

Water can be introduced to the media stream in two different ways using the Wet Blast Flex. In the blast hose, the media and water can mix at the media valve, creating a slurry. You can also introduce water in the nozzle holder just before both the media and water leave the nozzle. The operator will have to deal with a bit of weight on the hose, but he or she will be able to control how much water is introduced into the media stream. In areas without water, you can fill the 120-gallon water tank beforehand or feed the Wet Blast Flex water from a garden hose.

However, dustless blasting greatly reduces the amount of dust present.

In California, sandblasting is common

Sandblasting is popular in California

There are several documents provided by the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (ARB) that explain sandblasting regulations listed in California Code of Regulations Title 17, Subchapter 6 Abrasive Blasting (17 CCR).

The following is a legal interpretation of a portion of the Abrasive Sandblasting Regulation:

Under the ARB’s abrasive blasting regulations (17 CCR sections 92000 et seq. ), all abrasive blasting operations must be conducted outside of permanent buildings using either wet blasting, hydroblasting, vacuum blasting, or abrasives certified for dry outdoor blasting.

In other words, ARB does not allow wet abrasive blasting to be conducted with steel or iron shot media. A sandblasting job outside must be carried out on a stable, permanent structure.

Standards for visible emissions

Sandblasting can contribute to air pollution, which is why abrasive blasting operations are subject to requirements related to visible emissions.

According to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, visible emissions standards apply both to indoor and outdoor sandblasting. Confined blasting is done indoors while outdoor blasting is done outdoors.

Opacity is one of the regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines opacity as the amount of a person’s view obscured by a dust plume and calculates emissions with the help of state and federal guidelines.

Furthermore, it states that visible blasting emissions are limited to 20% opacity from confined blasting, and 40% opacity from unconfined blasting. This report can be accessed here.

If the item to be blasted is more than eight feet in any dimension and is in a permanent location, the regulations allow abrasive wet blasting without confinement.

An in-depth explanation is provided in the official document.

Sandblasting produces a great deal of dust in the air that is often complained about by residents of urban and residential areas.

Visit the Abrasive Blasting Program website to learn more about California sandblasting standards, certifications, and contact information.

By using dustless blasting, or wet blasting, you can reduce dust in the air, and even reduce workers’ exposure to dust, making it safer for them.

It is beneficial to wet blast at any time, but particularly when complying with federal and state sandblasting regulations. 

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