Monitoring and modeling of emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations: overview of methods

B. Bunton
P. O'shaughnessy
S. Fitzsimmons
J. Gering


Accurate monitors are required to determine ambient concentration levels of contaminants emanating from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and accurate models are required to indicate the spatial variability of concentrations over regions affected by CAFOs. A thorough understanding of the spatial and temporal variability of concentration levels could then be associated with locations of healthy individuals or subjects with respiratory ailments to statistically link the presence of CAFOs to the prevalence of ill health effects in local populations. This workgroup report, which was part of the Conference on Environmental Health Impacts of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: Anticipating Hazards-Searching for Solutions, describes instrumentation currently available for assessing contaminant concentration levels in the vicinity of CAFOs and reviews plume dispersion models that may be used to estimate concentration levels spatially. Recommendations for further research with respect to ambient air monitoring include accurately determining long-term average concentrations for a region under the influence of CAFO emissions using a combination of instruments based on accuracy, cost, and sampling duration. In addition, development of instruments capable of accurately quantifying adsorbed gases and volatile organic compounds is needed. Further research with respect to plume dispersion models includes identifying and validating the most applicable model for use in predicting downwind concentrations from CAFOs. Additional data are needed to obtain reliable emission rates from CAFOs.