The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is making data publicly available from a two-year study of air emissions from animal feeding operations (AFOs). AFOs, which house large numbers of animals for production of meat, dairy products and eggs, were monitored for the following air pollutants: ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds.
The data available today are from the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study, which resulted from a 2005 voluntary compliance agreement between EPA and the AFO industry. The study was funded by industry and conducted by Purdue University researchers with EPA oversight. Throughout the studies, participating AFOs made their operations available for monitoring and worked closely with the researchers, industry experts and EPA.
Researchers monitored emissions at AFOs that raise pigs and broiler chickens, at egg-laying operations, and at dairies, with a total of 24 monitoring sites in nine states. A separate industry study monitored emissions from a broiler chicken operation in Kentucky. EPA will use data from the studies to help develop improved methodologies for estimating AFO emissions. Such methodologies are commonly used to estimate emissions from industries where site-specific monitoring data are not available.
At the request of the agriculture industry, EPA also is issuing a Call for Information seeking data from other monitoring studies of AFO emissions. Submitting this information is not required; however, it will help the agency ensure that its emissions estimating tools are based on the best scientific data available. EPA is requesting quality-assured data on emissions of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds, along with information about how animals are housed or managed, and how manure is stored and treated at the monitored operations. The agency is asking for this information for operations that raise pigs, chickens, turkeys and beef cattle, and for egg-laying and dairy cattle operations. Once the Call for Information is published in the Federal Register, there will be a 45-day comment period.
EPA will make draft methodologies available for public review and comment on a rolling basis, beginning in spring 2011.
Information on submitting data and data from the National Air Emissions Monitoring Study: http://www.epa.gov/airquality/agmonitoring/index.html
Information about the voluntary air compliance agreement: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/agreements/caa/cafo-agr.html