ENHANCING QUALITY, UTILITY, SUSTAINABILITY, ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF COTTON AND ITS BYPRODUCTS THROUGH IMPROVEMENT IN HARVEST/GIN PROCESSING
Location: Cotton Ginning Research
Title: Characterization of cotton gin particulate matter emissions - Final year of field work
Submitted to: National Cotton Council Beltwide Cotton Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 2012
Publication Date: April 27, 2012
Citation: Whitelock, D.P., Buser, M.D., Boykin Jr, J.C., Holt, G.A. 2012. Characterization of cotton gin particulate matter emissions - Final year of field work. Proceedings of 2012 Beltwide Cotton Conferences, January 3-6, 2012, Orlando, Florida p. 651-659.
Interpretive Summary: In 2006, the United State Environmental Protection Agency implemented a more stringent air quality standard for very fine dust. All cotton gins will eventually be impacted by this standard. The primary issues affecting the cotton industry across the country in regards to the implementation of the standard are that very little scientifically sound information is available on cotton gin emissions of this very fine dust, that some recent research indicates that current EPA sampling methods could be over-estimating cotton gin emissions by 14 times, and that studies have shown that EPA recommended dispersion models used by the states could be over-predicting cotton gin boundary line concentrations by as much as a factor of 10. In response to these issues, a four-year industry-supported study to evaluate cotton gin dust emissions at several gins at locations across the cotton belt was begun by the three USDA-ARS Cotton Ginning Laboratories and Oklahoma State University. During the project’s final year of sampling, 2011, one gin was extensively sampled in North Carolina and lab analyses were conducted on more than 3000 samples.
Due to EPA’s implementation of more stringent standards for particulate matter (PM) with an effective diameter less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), the cotton ginners’ associations across the cotton belt agreed that there is an urgent need to collect gin emission data. The primary issues surrounding PM regulations for cotton ginning industry are the limited or lack of available PM2.5 data, that current dispersion models can potentially over-predict property-line PM concentrations at cotton gins, and that federal reference method PM samplers may over-predict emissions or concentrations when sampling in agricultural environments. In response to the gin associations’ requests, a cotton gin PM emissions sampling project was planned and begun in 2008. During 2011, the fourth year of the sampling campaign, a gin was extensively sampled in North Carolina and lab analyses were conducted on more than 3000 samples. This paper highlights the individual sampling campaign and summarizes the progress made toward processing, compiling, and validating the information collected at the seven gins sampled.