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What is DPM?

Diesel Particulate Matter or DPM are the particulate components of diesel exhaust, and include both diesel “soot” and other aerosol solids such as ash particulates, metals, sulfates and silicates.  The main component of DPM is elemental or “black” carbon.  This usually forms the core of the particle, which often has a toxic mix of other substances on its surface.  The carbon “cores” are generally less than 1 micron in diameter.

Graphical Representation of Aerosol DPM (Twigg and Phillips, 2009)

How do I know if I have a problem?

There is no way to tell if you have a problem with DPM from a visual inspection, equipment list or ventilation survey.  Many factors are involved in both the production and mitigation of DPM and the only reliable method for determining exposure levels at your facility is by conducting an in-depth baseline study.  This consists of a mine-wide survey of DPM levels for all areas and activities where miners normally work or travel underground.  Comprehensive analysis of the sample values, along with various other parameters such as equipment maintenance and airflow quantity and velocity will alert the mine operator to any areas of concern.

What can I do about DPM?

If high levels of DPM are detected, there are a variety of ways to lower them to within acceptable levels.  Fuel, ventilation, equipment inventory and maintenance, after treatment products and a variety of other means exist for the reduction of diesel emissions.  Each method of DPM reduction is somewhat unique and will have different results in different applications.  With so many available options, all with unique properties and results, choosing the correct method for your specific application becomes especially important.

Do you have questions regarding diesel emissions in your mine, tunnel or underground construction project?  Do you want to know what levels of DPM are present and where?

We Can Help!

As a result of the growing awareness of the health risks associated with DPM, many mine operators are faced with a long list of questions: Am I in compliance? How can I tell? What can I do to reduce DPM levels at my mine? Who can I turn to for help? Because of the wide variation in underground environments, and the many factors that affect DPM exposure, each mine is unique and requires a specialized strategy and approach to DPM control. MVS is equipped to assist mine operators in evaluating where they stand, and developing a strategy for compliance, now and in the future.

Mine Ventilation Services offers a wide range of services in the areas of DPM sampling and analysis. MVS can provide assistance in establishing a baseline of DPM exposure, analyze samples taken by mine operators in our state of the art laboratory facility, assist in the development of a comprehensive compliance strategy and perform periodic checks to ensure continued compliance. MVS is equipped with the latest technology and is abreast of current DPM measurement and analysis techniques.

We can put a sampling/compliance program together for you, analyze your samples with our laboratory equipment, or simply answer any technical questions you might have. With MVS, you can be assured that your concerns will be addressed by someone who understands the unique challenges and requirements of underground operations.

Please contact us for further information regarding our qualifications and/or capabilities in this field.

Exhaust Aftertreatment

  • Active Regeneration Filters
  • Passive Regeneration Filters
  • Diesel Oxidation Catalysts
  • Selective Catalytic Reduction

Engine Fuels

  • Low and Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel (LSD and ULSD)
  • Biodiesel, Emulsions Ventilation

Airflow Dilution

  • Primary Ventilation System Upgrades
  • Auxiliary Systems

Specialized Maintenance/Engine Tuning

  • Specialized maintenance programs for the reduction of DPM
  • Specialized engine performance tuning to enhance efficiency and lower emissions

Electric Equipment Fleet

  • Replacement of existing diesel fleet
  • Selected use of electric equipment in problem locations

Enclosed Cabs

  • Fully-enclosed vehicle cabs with filtered air intake systems


  • Many other options exist for the reduction of DPM, including various administrative controls and approved PPE use.

Air Sampling Pumps and Sampling Apparatus

Do you need sampling or support equipment for DPM compliance testing? MVS can design and deliver a full sampling package, complete and ready to use right out of the box. Manufacturers include, SKC, MSA, Gillian, and others. Call for details.

Sampling Cassettes

The standard DPM Cassette consists of a quartz fiber filter without an impactor. This is a budget-conscious sampling alternative for mines without carbonate interference. However, MSHA reports that sample results are generally ~25% higher than with the JIC Cassette under similar circumstances.

The MSHA-approved JIC Cassette manufactured by SKC contains two quartz fiber filters and a sub-micron precision-jeweled impactor.

Sample Collection

MVS has ventilation engineers trained in sample collection techniques for DPM. We have established a sampling protocol that has been used for DPM sampling in the U.S. and internationally. MVS will design a custom sampling program for both baseline and compliance sampling based on your individual needs.

NIOSH 5040 Analysis

MVS maintains a full laboratory for the analysis of DPM sample cassettes in accordance with the NIOSH 5040 Method. This method utilizes a thermal-optical technique to characterize the Total Carbon content of a sample as a useful surrogate for DPM. The Elemental Carbon and Organic Carbon fractions are also reported.

DPM Reduction Strategies & Compliance Assistance

The number one goal of MVS’s DPM services is to assist mine operators in complying with the federal regulations regarding DPM; thereby protecting the health and well-being of mine-workers. MVS is pleased to offer a wide range of DPM related services as might be required to ensure compliance at a mine. This includes the generation of mine-specific compliance strategies, and even the recommendation of individual DPM reduction products or technologies.


The MVS diesel Particulate Laboratory was opened in January of 2002 in order to meet the growing needs of the mining community.  Since that time, MVS has participated in DPM studies both in the U.S. and abroad.  Today we remain committed to helping mine operators lower the DPM exposure of their workers and maintain regulatory compliance.  The MVS Laboratory is fully equipped for the analysis of DPM in accordance with the NIOSH 5040 method.  Sample collection and analyses are also available in addition to compliance studies and optimization strategies for the measurement and control of DPM.


Facilities at the MVS Laboratory include a Sunset Laboratory Thermal/Optical carbon analyzer, with a dedicated computer with color laser printer.  Refrigerated storage of samples is available both before and after analysis.


MVS adheres to the NIOSH 5040 method for the analysis of DPM.  This method utilizes a thermal-optical technique to characterize the Total Carbon content of a sample as a useful surrogate for DPM.  The Elemental Carbon and Organic Carbon fractions are also reported.  The laboratory results are reported to the client in terms of Total, and Elemental Carbon present on each sample filter in units of micrograms (µg).  The sampled concentration of DPM in terms of micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) then becomes a simple operation based on the pump run-time and flow rate.  By request, MVS can provide a printout of the thermogram generated for each sample analyzed.

Quality Assurance

MVS adheres to exacting quality assurance practices in all laboratory work, including strict sample tracking and chain of custody procedures, as well as the periodic testing of the sampling apparatus and sampling results.  A more detailed description of the MVS quality assurance plan is available upon request.

Please submit samples for analysis to:

Mine Ventilation Services
Diesel Particulate Laboratory
1625 Shaw Ave., Suite 103
Clovis , CA 93611 USA

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: (559) 452-0182
Fax: (559) 452-0184