Journal of Atmospheric Chemistry

, Volume 59, Issue 2, pp 99–115 | Cite as

Determination of ammonia emission rates from a tunnel ventilated chicken house using passive samplers and a Gaussian dispersion model

  • Ronald L. Siefert
  • Joseph R. Scudlark


Atmospheric deposition can provide a significant fraction of the nitrogen loading to coastal waters. The Delmarva Peninsula, on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, is a region with intense poultry production that may supply a significant source of atmospheric ammonia (NH3). There is a need to quantify ammonia NH3 from representative growing methods in this region in order to more accurately estimate agricultural NH3 emissions and to develop best management practices. In this study, NH3 emissions were determined at an 18,600-bird tunnel-ventilated chicken house using a modified sampling grid (a planar arrangement normal to the length of the house) with Ogawa passive samplers to characterize the emission plume downwind from the house. This improvement in the sampling strategy, compared to a previous study, simplified the inverse Gaussian plume analysis which improved the confidence in the emission factors. In this study, a total of four separate plume characterizations were conducted over the final 3 weeks of the 6-week broiler grow-out cycle. The mean emission factor observed at the tunnel-ventilated house, 0.13 g NH3–N/bird-day, was an order of magnitude lower than that previously observed at a nearby side-wall ventilated house. Although not all growing variables were measured, the large difference in emission factors between the two ventilation regimes suggest that modern, tunnel-ventilated houses may result in a significant decrease in NH3 emissions compared with traditional growing methods. This variability in emission factors underscores the need for characterizing chicken houses under various conditions and determining the factors that control these atmospheric emissions.


Ammonia Atmospheric dispersion Tunnel-ventilated chicken house Emissions Gaussian plume 



The US EPA, through a grant administered by the Chesapeake Bay Program, provided funding for this study. This report does not reflect the official views of the US Environmental Protection Agency, and any mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation for use by the EPA. Additional funding was also provided by the Naval Academy Research Council through ORN grant N0001407WR20102. We also thank the farmer for his cooperation and use of his facilities to conduct this study and the reviewers for their helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentUS Naval AcademyAnnapolisUSA
  2. 2.College of Marine and Earth StudiesUniversity of DelawareLewesUSA

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