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NDSU Awards Research Grants to Study Road Dust Impacts in Bakken

Fargo, N.D. – How much road dust is there? What are its impacts? These are among the questions North Dakota State University researchers are examining in the Bakken region of North Dakota. Five research proposals have been selected to receive seed funding to research the impact of road dust issues in areas of energy development across western North Dakota. NDSU announced $224,516 for five awards to conduct research over the next two years.

“Measuring the amount of road dust from traffic and developing scientific data on its impact provides information as the challenge of road dust emissions continues,” said Kelly A. Rusch, vice president for Research and Creative Activity at NDSU. “The proposals selected for funding combine research approaches from different fields of study to provide an opportunity for wide-angle views of a significant challenge.”

Here is a brief summary of the research awards, areas of study and those leading the projects:

  • “Quantification of Road Dust and Its Effect on Soil Quality”
    • Shafiqur Rahman, Ph.D., Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering; $59,956 grant
    • Research team includes: Kris Ringwall, Director, Dickinson Research Extension Center; Bernie Saini-Eidukat, Geosciences; and Larry Cihacek, Soil Science.
  •  “Road Dusts:  Their Abatement and Impacts on Human Health”
    • Jack Norland, Ph.D., Natural Resources Management; $59,580 grant
    • Research team includes: Christina Hargiss, Natural Resources Management; Tom DeSutter, Soil Science; Mark Strand, Pharmacy Practice.
  • “Fugitive Dust Impacts on Plants and Landowner/Citizen Perceptions of Bakken Development”
    • Devan McGranahan, Ph.D., Range Science; $59,980 grant
    • Research team includes: Gary Gorham, Sociology and Anthropology; Aaron Daigh, Soil Science; and Joel Ransom, Extension Service agronomist, Cereal Crops.
  • “Development of Best Practices Approach to Unpaved Road Dust Control in Western ND”
    • Eric Asa, Ph.D., Construction Management and Engineering; $15,000 grant
  • “Full Spectrum Dust Control Techniques and Economy-Based Criteria”
    • Zhibin Lin, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering; $30,000 grant
    • Research team includes: Mijia Yang, Civil and Environmental Engineering; and Lei Zhang, Agribusiness and Applied Economics.

Projects include opportunities for NDSU undergraduate and graduate students to participate and contribute to this area of research important to potentially assist in mitigating road dust issues. “Not only does it allow students to learn scientific methods, it also engages them in fast-track research to help provide information that can benefit communities,” said Dr. Rusch, vice president for Research and Creative Activity.

Thirteen proposals competed for seed funding through the program.

At more than 1 million barrels per day, North Dakota is second only to Texas in oil production. Additional energy development in North Dakota could result in additional road dust emissions. The program at NDSU serves to augment excellent work conducted by other entities, providing additional information to assist in mitigating road dust in the state’s oilpatch.

About NDSU

NDSU, Fargo, North Dakota, is notably listed among the top 108 U.S. public and private universities in the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education's category of "Research Universities/Very High Research Activity." As a student-focused, land grant, research institution, NDSU is listed in the top 100 research universities in the U.S. for R&D in agricultural sciences, chemistry, physical sciences, psychology, and social sciences, based on research expenditures reported to the National Science Foundation.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Phone: 701.231.8045
Physical/delivery address:  1735 NDSU Research Park Drive/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  P.O. Box 6050—Dept. 4000/Fargo, ND 58108-6050
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