|They are monitoring the emissions of animal waste-caused pollutants that emanate from the Purdue swine research facility.
`Large livestock facilities don`t fall under current emissions standards because no baseline data exists for such operations, and there is even less information on the odor issue,` says Brian Richert, a Purdue professor of animal sciences and one of the people leading the study. `This is because it`s very difficult to do measurements.`
Purdue`s 15,500-square-foot, 12-room Swine Environmental Research Building can hold 720 hogs and replicate actual conditions at working farms.
Emissions of animal waste-caused pollutants include particulate matter, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, which is a byproduct of ammonia. The latter three are considered greenhouse gases. Monitoring of emissions occurs around the clock via a $50,000 monitoring device that captures gas readings at 25 different points throughout the facility.
Though the EPA doesn`t regulate odors, it does restrict emission amounts of odor-causing chemicals. Any facility emitting more than 100 pounds per day of either hydrogen sulfide and/or ammonia must report it to the EPA. The fine for exceeding the 100-pound threshold is $27,000 per day. About 3,500 pigs can generate 100 pounds of ammonia per day, says Albert Heber, professor of agricultural and biological engineering.
`There are several ways to measure ammonia, and we are using top-of-the-line, EPA-approved instruments that use a chemiluminescence method that mixes nitrous oxide with ozone to create a glow,` Heber says. `We also use an infrared method and similar methods for hydrogen sulfide.`
The 12 identical rooms allow researchers to feed the animals using varying ingredients in order to determine which feed recipes contribute to amounts of urine, manure, smells and gasses, as well as how they influence the growth of the animals.
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