Category Archives: Bioaerosols

Bioaerosols in Waste and Recycling

~ WISH have released a new informative article discussing bioaerosols in waste and recycling ~

What are Bioaerosols, where are they found, and why should I care?

  • Bioaerosols are a combination of microorganisms (bacteria, fungal spores, and other fragments of biological origin) that are suspended in air.
  • These microorganisms are naturally occurring, and when organic waste is stored for a period of time, will multiply. Hence, Bioaerosols have potential to be prevalent in enormous quantities in the waste management industry. 
  • Bioaerosols are released during the handling and processing of waste streams and can be present in any facility where waste is being moved (e.g. MBT, MRF, EFW, HWRC/CA sites).
  • Bioaerosols can cause ill health and long-term exposure may cause respiratory illness such as asthma, inflammation, irritation of airways and eyes, and gastro-intestinal disorders.

COSHH 2002 regulations consider Bioaerosols to be a substance which are hazardous to health.

What do WISH recommend you do as an employer? 

  • All waste site operations should create site and task specific risk assessments which consider bioaerosol exposure of those on site.
  • Personal monitoring of workers exposure levels should be undertaken to identify high risk activities. This involves attaching a Bioaerosol monitor to a person handling or processing waste.
  • Using data gathered by monitoring, control measures can be put in place if necessary.  
  • Data can be used for “zoning” of the site into low, medium, and high-risk areas. Risk controls can then vary between each area to suit the risk level.

For an in-depth explanation of the above, click here to read.

What do Albion think?

That monitoring Bioaerosols is very important for the following reasons:

  • Legal: to comply with permits, gain licenses, or ensure suitable risk assessments are conducted.
  • Financial: the costs of not monitoring (& managing) bioaerosols could be far higher than the costs of doing so – sites can be fined, or even face lawsuits
  • Moral: obligation to not cause harm to the environment, or put employees at risk
  • Functional: monitoring bioaerosols helps improve workplace welfare, and higher welfare is linked to better productivity

Albion also suggest that ambient monitoring be undertaken.  Ambient monitoring investigates if “sensitive receptors”, i.e. locations that are in close proximity of a waste facility are being affected by Bioaerosols.  This could be a site office or a neighbouring property for example. 

The EA already require ambient Bioaerosol monitoring at biowaste facilities that are 250m or less from a sensitive receptor.  Do you think SEPA should be following in their footsteps?

Reading this and concerned about bioaerosols in the workplace you manage? Albion have a wealth of experience undertaking personal as well as ambient bioaerosol monitoring.  Get in touch to see if we can help!



Clean Air Day 2023

Today, Thursday 15th June 2023, is Clean Air Day.
Clean Air Day, led by Global Action Plan, is the UK’s largest campaign against air pollution. Each year, Clean Air Day campaigns engage thousands of people at real-life events and reach millions through online media. The campaign is of great importance, as poor air quality causes lung and heart diseases, birth defects, issues with children’s lung development, and perhaps also contributes to mental health problems. In fact, air pollution is the greatest environmental risk to human health. The World Health Organisation states that air pollution kills around 7 million globally each year – and 4.2 million deaths are a result of outdoor air pollution. Financially, Public Health England estimated that in 2017 air pollution cost the NHS and social care system over £42 million. The main causes of outdoor air pollution are traffic emissions, with power generation, agricultural processes, and waste management practices also contributing. Recently, wildfire smoke has become a greater contributor to air pollution levels, as a result of climate change. Additionally, removing vegetation within urban areas can worsen the impacts of air pollution.                          All of these problems are contributing to dirtier air, and as cities continue to develop and grow, such issues must be countered. The UK Government reports on air pollution levels annually, and many urban UK areas are repeatedly found to have illegally high levels of air pollution. There was a brief respite in air pollution levels in 2020, as the first Covid-19 lockdown was instated. However, as lockdown was relaxed levels increased again, and now air pollution levels show little sign of dropping.  Air pollution is a major problem facing the world today – and one that is not being given the appropriate attention and urgency it requires. Clean air ought to be a basic need, but it is often being thought of as a luxury, with harmful air pollution levels mostly affecting poorer communities, and those living in the developing world. This needs to change. There are many commitments companies can make to help reduce air pollution levels. At Albion we have implemented our Carbon Reduction Policy which includes objectives such as,  lowering vehicle emissions by transitioning to electric vehicles and encouraging staff to use greener modes of transport (e.g. through cycle to work schemes). Another good step is to follow the principles of the circular economy and ensure that clean energy is being used. Here at Albion, we have been working towards raising awareness of dust and bioaerosols (airborne microorganisms – such as bacteria and fungi – or tiny fragments of larger organisms), both of which can be harmful outdoor air pollutants. Through a KTP project on bioaerosols, we are also expanding consultancy capacity for monitoring and reviewing bioaerosol concentrations, which is a major issue with organic waste management and intensive animal farming systems. To find out more about our bioaerosol services, click here. Want to see more posts about #CleanAirDay ? Follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn

Bioaerosol Monitoring – What Waste Industry Professionals Should Know

What are bioaerosols? What are the associated health concerns with them, and why these are of particular interest to waste management?

This webinar hosted by KTP Associate Jennifer Kowalski discusses bioaerosols and the importance of monitoring them.

You can watch the webinar recording from the link below.

If you are interested in bioaerosol monitoring and want to find out more, get in touch with the team at Albion Environmental at or call 01292 610 428.

Successful Completion of Bioaerosol KTP Project

Albion Environmental Ltd and The Open University awarded ‘Very Good’ final grade for their Knowledge Transfer Partnership Project!

In May 2019 Albion Environmental took on their first KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership) Associate Jennifer Kowalski, to deliver a Bioaerosol Monitoring project in conjunction with The Open University. Two and a half years later, the project has completed and has been awarded a ‘Very Good’ final grade from Innovate UK. This KTP program introduced Bioaerosol Monitoring Services to Albion Environmental, with theoretical, technical and practical skills passed on to our team by our associate Jennifer who delivered the project. To mark the completion of the project, we thought we would take some time to reflect on the journey this took us on, and share our progress.

So, what is Bioaerosol Monitoring?

Bioaerosol monitoring is the practice of measuring airborne fragments of living or non-living biological materials, which usually consist of microbes. Bioaerosols often need to be measured at sites handling large amounts of organic materials (such as organic waste treatment sites) to ensure that any bioaerosol emissions are unlikely to be causing harm to human health.

The focus of our KTP project was to provide Albion Environmental with the knowledge and skills to complete bioaerosol monitoring surveys independently, thereby expanding the capacity for this work in Scotland and North England. Before the KTP, bioaerosol monitoring capabilities were limited in these parts of the UK, making it difficult and expensive for sites who needed to complete this work to get it done. Now, this work can be completed more locally, making it cheaper and easier to arrange, especially considering the work is weather dependant, and so long travel times can present a real problem.

Now that the KTP project is complete, Albion Environmental have gained a host of new capabilities, that can be offered to clients, and fulfil everchanging needs in the market. These skills include:

  • M9 bioaerosol monitoring
  • Occupational monitoring
  • Dust monitoring
  • Writing bioaerosol and dust reports
  • Assessing bioaerosol, dust, and weather data
  • Provide recommendations for lowering bioaerosol and dust emissions
  • Provide H&S training & materials relevant to bioaerosols

How does the KTP Program work?

The process of securing this KTP involved finding an academic partner to work with (in this case, The Open University), and then applying for it via Innovate UK. Then, once the application was successful, we put out a job listing, and hired our KTP Associate – a recent

graduate with some relevant experience, who can come into the role and act as the main project manager for the KTP.

Once the Associate has joined the KTP, it is time to get the ball rolling on the KTP project. A KTP team was established, and project aims and milestones were finalised. It was then up to the Associate to determine the tasks and activities required to meet each milestone, and to work toward achieving these. The main tasks included:

  • General project management
  • Site visits – involving training of Associate, who then trained Albion staff
  • Research – including an investigation into monitoring techniques and equipment, and gathering data to generate research reports
  • Developing report-writing and data-analysis techniques used in regards to bioaerosol monitoring
  • Keeping on top of any recent research into bioaerosols, and incorporating this information into new KTP materials
  • Attending conferences & industry events, for networking & sharing information on the KTP

Navigating a KTP Project throughout Covid-19

One of the main challenges our KTP faced was the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns that came with it. This began halfway through the original project schedule, and it presented a major difficulty when trying to schedule and complete site visits, as the staff involved were often unable to travel. Additionally, weather conditions often hindered plans to get out to site, as poor weather often means that we need to cancel any planned trips, and try to re-work those trips back into multiple busy schedules.

Fortunately, our KTP partners were all very flexible and adaptable after the arrival of COVID- 19, allowing us to extend the project by a total of 6 months, to provide extra time to complete on-site activities. Alongside this, the KTP was adapted, and this was very important as the role progressed. The main milestones were achieved, but certain pieces of work were difficult to do in light of the pandemic, and scheduling difficulties. Conversely, it was possible to bring new tasks and objectives into the KTP, based on work opportunities that arose during the project.

Comments from the Project Team

Jennifer Kowalski KTP Associate

“Being a KTP Associate was a great way to enhance my career and gain new skills. Within this role, I was provided the opportunities to go on multiple training courses that hugely enhanced my skillset. I was also provided with a generous personal development fund, which meant I could explore different ways of learning, and have the chance to attend conferences and acquire relevant industry memberships. I also really enjoyed the fieldwork and networking aspects of my KTP, as this often gave me the opportunity to travel somewhere new, and spend time either outside in the sun, or around like-minded people with similar goals. However, I think the best part about a KTP is that they are often working towards a very important aim, one that can be very beneficial for society.

There were challenges at times, such as dealing with a global pandemic that made work a lot more difficult. However, I faced each challenge without letting them curb my enthusiasm and tenacity, and I have learned a lot from the process.”

Alasdair Meldrum – Director of Albion Environmental Ltd

“Albion is delighted with our first KTP project and really welcomed the fact we could tap into the expertise from Toni Gladding and Denise Pasquet from the Open University and our KTP Supervisor Gerry Black. We have gained considerable expertise and experience in the bioaerosol field and the KTP has allowed us to expand our portfolio into providing bioaerosol services. We will also be able to continue to tap into The Open University expertise as they will continue to supply the laboratory analytical work for this service. KTP’s are an excellent way for companies to expand their range or services or products and we would highly recommend them.

A special thanks to all involved in this project who ensured it was delivered successfully, including the core KTP team from Innovate UK, The OU, our associate Jennifer and the extended team from the labs who aided in the successful delivery of this Bioaerosol KTP.”

The company looks forward to growing our bioaerosol monitoring portfolio and delivering new and innovative solutions for our clients.

To find out more about the bioaerosol monitoring services we can now offer, click here.

Meet the Team – Issue 10

A huge welcome to our newest member of the Albion team Helanna, who joined us this month.

We have been introducing you to the Albion staff over the last few weeks and throughout that time we have been expanding our team. So this week we are introducing one of our newest environmental consultants.

Helanna Cooper

Environmental Consultant

Favourite Quote: ‘Whit’s Fur Ye’ll No Go By Ye’–  I am a big believer that everything happens for a reason.

Job Title: Environmental Technician

Job Role: As Environmental Technician I carry out a variety of environmental monitoring, site investigation, soil assessments and waste analysis work to the required standard and in compliance with H&S and environmental management system including data collation and reporting.

Experience: I have been in the environmental/ construction industry for 7yrs. I started off with the Princes Trust ‘Get into Civil Engineering’ in 2014, then continued my apprenticeship as an Environmental Technician with a local waste disposal company. In 2016 I wanted to further my career in construction and civil engineering. I spent 4 years as an Engineering Technician working along side site engineers, CAD technicians and technical department, preparing and collating information and data to produce AutoCAD maps. I then realised that the environmental/ waste industry was the area I wanted to expand my knowledge and where I wanted to continue my career. 

Favourite part of the job:  My favourite part of working with Albion is that every project is so varied and interesting.

Get to Know Me:I love spending time and making memories with my family and my friends. I would have to say that my favourite season is summer, I love the light nights and mornings – which has its advantages for when you need to get up early in the morning for site.

When I’m not working, you’ll find me… running around with my wild 3 year old son and spending time with my niece and nephews or trying to catch up on with something on Netflix.

You can contact Helanna at: Or connect on LinkedIn