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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327413

Title: Assessing the effectiveness of vegetative environmental buffers in mitigating air pollutant emissions from poultry houses

item YAO, Q. - University Of Maryland
item Hapeman, Cathleen
item LI, H. - University Of Delaware
item BUSER, M. - Oklahoma State University
item Alfieri, Joseph
item Wanjura, John
item MCCONNELL, L.L. - University Of Maryland
item Holt, Gregory
item Downey, Peter
item YANG, ZIJIANG - University Of Maryland
item TORRENTS, A. - University Of Maryland

Submitted to: American Chemical Society National Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2016
Publication Date: 8/21/2016
Citation: Yao, Q., Hapeman, C.J., Li, H., Buser, M., Alfieri, J.G., Wanjura, J.D., Mcconnell, L., Holt, G.A., Downey, P.M., Yang, Z., Torrents, A. 2016. Assessing the effectiveness of vegetative environmental buffers in mitigating air pollutant emissions from poultry houses. American Chemical Society National Meeting. AGRO 135..

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Over 560 million broilers are produced on the Delmarva Peninsula each year. However, emissions from poultry houses have come under intense scrutiny due to the potential human and environmental effects of the released particulate matter (PM), ammonia, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Ammonia and some VOCs are known PM2.5 (PM < 2.5 µm) precursors, and odorous VOCs and ammonia put people and animals in an unpleasant environment, and in extreme cases the compounds can cause health issues. Thus, producers need mitigation strategies to control or eliminate the release of these atmospheric pollutants. Vegetative Environmental Buffers (VEBs) planted next to the tunnel fans have been introduced as migration technology to control these emissions. VEBs are vegetation designed as a visual screen, which usually consist of trees, shrubs, grass and other potential plants. Early studies indicate that VEBs are able to reduce air pollutant emissions, but quantitative studies are needed to improve the overall design and assess their effectiveness.. In this project, field experiments were conducted at several poultry houses to quantify the efficacy of VEBs in migrating air pollutants. Time-integrated PM, ammonia, and VOC samples were collected at multiple locations and heights. Concentrations in front of and behind the VEBs were compared to evaluate the removal performance. Results showed significant PM and ammonia concentration decreases with VEBs. Ammonia concentrations increased inside the buffer in some of the experiments, suggesting that ammonia might be trapped in between the rows of vegetation. Some volatile organic compounds show decreasing concentration gradients with VEBs present. These results will be used to improve VEB design and in evaluating the effectiveness of National Conservative Practice Standard #380 and #420.