Rented Dust Monitor Enhances Safety During Hanger One Project

Leading instrumentation specialist Ashtead Technology has been selected to provide environmental monitoring equipment during the dismantling of the iconic Hanger One building in Northern California.

One of the world’s largest freestanding structures, covering 8 acres (32,000m2), Silicon Valley’s Hanger One was built in the 1930s as a naval airship station for the USS Macon, and has since served the U.S Navy, Army and Air Force. However, plans to convert the hanger into a NASA Space and Science Center were put on hold with the discovery in 2003 that the structure may be affecting sediment in wetlands bordering San Francisco Bay.

Instrumentation from Ashtead Technology, including the TSi DustTrak Aerosol Monitor, is now being employed at the site prior to the removal of the hanger shell and tiles, which contain unacceptable levels of lead, polychlorinated piphenyls (PCBs) and asbestos.

The DustTrack is being used to monitor dust levels generated by the deconstruction process to provide reliable assessment of worker exposure to airborne contaminants such as dust, smokes, fumes and mists by measuring particle concentrations within PM-10, PM-2.5 and PM-1.0. The handheld monitor has an easy-to-read digital display showing real-time concentrations in milligram per cubic meter (mg/m3) while simultaneously logging data to memory.

Explaining the practical value of the instrumentation, Ira Davis, Ashtead Technology’s Regional Account Manager in Northern California, said: “The DustTrak monitors unacceptable contamination levels for workers and consequently enables the identification of the correct personal protective equipment, such as full face respirators.

“Our instrumentation is playing an important role in this to ensure suitable work conditions throughout the lengthy deconstruction phase. The DustTrack has a significant memory, so it is able to record months’ worth of data and is therefore ideal for long-term monitoring and also proven in providing consistent performance in even the dirtiest environments.”

The U.S. Navy and NASA have been evaluating a number of options for the future re-use of the structure, set to be partly funded by President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the next fiscal year of $32.8 million for NASA to restore the hangar.

Further information on Ashtead Technology's comprehensive range of instrumentation is available at