Particle Composition and Size Distributions in and around a Deep Pit Swine Operation

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry




Springer Verlag

Publication Date



The contribution of emissions from agricultural facilities is rapidly becoming a major concern for local and regional air quality. Characterization of particle properties such as physical size distribution and chemical composition can be valuable in understanding the processes contributing to emissions and ultimate fate of particulate matter from agricultural facilities. A measurement campaign was conducted at an Iowa, deep-pit, three-barn swine finishing facility to characterize near-source ambient particulate matter. Size-specific mass concentrations were determined using minivol samplers, with additional size distribution information obtain using optical particle counters. Particulate composition was determined via ion chromatographic analysis of the collected filters. A thermal-CO2 elemental/organic carbon analyzer measured particulate carbon. The chemical composition and size distribution of sub-micron particles were determined via real-time aerosol mass spectrometry. Primary particulate was not found to be a major emission from the examined facility, with filter-based impactor samples showing average near-source increases (~15–50 m) in ambient PM10 of 5.8 ± 2.9 μg m−3 above background levels. PM2.5 also showed contribution attributable to the facility (1.7 ± 1.1 μg m−3). Optical particle counter analysis of the numerical size distributions showed bimodal distributions for both the upwind and downwind conditions, with maximums around 2.5 μm and below the minimum quantified diameter of 0.3 μm. The distributions showed increased numbers of coarse particles (PM10) during periods when wind transport came from the barns, but the differences were not statistically significant at the 95% confidence level. The PM10 aerosols showed statistically increased concentrations of sulfate, nitrate, ammonium, calcium, organic carbon, and elemental carbon when the samplers were downwind from the pig barns. Organic carbon was the major constituent of the barn-impacted particulate matter in both sub-micron (54%) and coarse size (20%) ranges. The AMS PM1 chemical speciation showed similar species increases, with the exception of NO−3NO3− and Ca+2, the latter not quantified by the AMS.

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