ASSESSING THE EFFECTIVENESS OF VEGETATIVE ENVIRONMENTAL BUFFERS IN MITIGATING POULTRY-EMITTED AIR POLLUTANTS
Hapeman, Cathleen J.
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The noticeable expansion of the concentrated feeding operation in the poultry industry has been putting considerable stress on the atmospheric environment and is also a public health concern. Poultry manure has been widely identified as a potential water pollutant source by regulators and researchers. However, less is known about the atmospheric emissions from poultry houses which includes particulate matter (PM), ammonia, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Vegetative Environmental Buffers (VEBs) have been introduced as a possible air pollutant migration technology to poultry farms. VEBs are vegetation designed to serve as a visual screen and consist of trees, shrubs, grass and other plants. Preliminary studies suggested that VEBs are able to reduce air pollutant emissions, however quantitative studies are needed to improve the overall design and assess their effectiveness. In this project, field experiments at three different poultry houses were conducted to quantify the efficacy of VEBs in migrating air pollutants. Time-integrated particulate, ammonia, and air samples were collected at multiple locations and heights. A small-scale Gaussian plume model was used to predict pollutant emissions from a poultry house without a VEB under the same meteorological conditions. Results showed significant TSP, PM10, PM2.5, and NH3 concentration decreases behind the VEB. Methanol, acetone, and ethanol were the most abundant VOCs emitted from the poultry house, but these compounds can also can contribute to the formation of ground level ozone. VEBs were showed promising potential in decreasing the ozone formation potential of VOCs. This project will contribute to the National Conservative Practice Standard (NCPS # 380 or # 420) by providing important expertise to the design and proper installation of VEBs. The work has been presented in extension and outreach programs.