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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Discerning the Fate of Atmospheric Agricultural Emissions in the Chesapeake Bay Region

Location: Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory

2010 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Discern the chemical nature, fate, and transport of critical agricultural pollutants emitted to the atmosphere and consider the potential risks posed by reactivity and/or deposition of these chemicals to sensitive ecosystems. Disseminate results to customers concerning the effects of atmospheric agricultural pollutants on environmental quality.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Measure ambient concentrations of agricultural pollutants in soil and in air across the agriculture-urban transect of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Compare volatile organic compound and particulate matter emissions from poultry production under different ammonia management practices. Test novel approaches to fingerprint particulate matter sources chemically and evaluate the fate and transport of critical agricultural pollutants for estimating potential risks using regional-scale atmospheric transport and deposition modeling tools.


3.Progress Report
This is a new project created from the merger of two former projects (1265-12630-001-00D and 1265-12220-004-00D) and was implemented in March 2010. A central aspect of this project is to establish three master stations across the Chesapeake Bay agriculture-urban interface where gaseous and particulate pollutants will be measured. The data collected will be used to examine the potential interaction of agricultural and urban pollutants on air quality and in large-scale atmospheric modeling.

A new configuration of air sampling equipment for the three master stations has been designed. Air sampling equipment and parts have been purchased and assembly is ongoing with deployment scheduled for next year. This work has been bolstered by a new specific cooperative agreement with scientists at Oklahoma State University and ARS scientists Beltsville, Maryland and Las Cruces, New Mexico. This cooperative project aims to carry out research on the development and evaluation of atmospheric particle sample collection methods for agricultural operations.

Progress has also been made in launching a new research program area in regional atmospheric emissions and transport modeling. An ARS research associate has been hired with expertise in the area of air quality modeling, atmospheric chemistry, and engineering to address the modeling aspects of this work. Cooperative research ties were established with the Atmospheric Modeling and Analysis Division of USEPA and the ARS research associate will work directly with USEPA scientists to model the fate of agricultural pollutants in the Chesapeake Bay region. Initial meetings with USEPA have been fruitful, and a forum has been established for ARS and USEPA scientists to work together on several air pollution models. ARS scientists at Beltsville, Maryland, have also strengthened collaborative efforts with ARS scientists at Ames, Iowa, and Riverside, California, and have initiated modeling efforts using existing datasets.

Research efforts have been enhanced by two collaborative efforts funded by other agencies. The first project involves the environmental persistence, bioavailability, and volatility of flame retardant compounds in agricultural soils after biosolids applications. This work is being carried out in cooperation with the University of Maryland via a specific cooperative agreement (1265-12610-001-02S) and with the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority. The second is an AFRI funded project (1265-12610-001-01R) initiated in the fall of 2009 to measure emissions of different types of pollutants from large cattle feedlots and to continue development of novel chemical fingerprinting methods for particles to aid in source identification. This project is being conducted with scientists at Kansas State University and ARS scientists at Beltsville, Maryuland; Ames, Iowa; Bowling Green, Kentucky; and Florence, South Carolina.


Last Modified: 7/10/2014
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