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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Gaseous Nitrogen Emissions from Anaerobic Swine Lagoons: Ammonia, Nitrous Oxide, and Dinitrogen Gas


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 4, p. 1356-1365
    Received: Sept 30, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): lharper@arches.uga.edu
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  1. Lowry A. Harper *,
  2. Ron R. Sharpe and
  3. Tim B. Parkin
  1. National Soil Tilth Lab., 2150 Pammel Drive, Ames, IA 50011.



Seventy-five percent of swine (Sus scrofa) production systems in North America use anaerobic or liquid-slurry systems for waste holding or disposal. Accurate emissions data and emission factors are needed for engineering, planning, and regulatory agencies. These data are used for system design and evaluation of the effect of animal concentrations on the regional soil, surface and ground waters, and atmospheric environments. Noninvasive techniques were used to evaluate trace gases without disturbing the meteorology or lagoon system being measured. Micrometeorological and gas sensors were mounted on a submersible barge in the center of the lagoon for use with flux-gradient methodology to determine trace gas fluxes, without disturbing atmospheric transport processes, over extended periods. Collateral measurements included lagoon nutrient, dissolved gas concentrations, and sludge gas mass flux. Ammonia emissions varied diurnally and seasonally and were highly correlated with windspeed and water temperature. Nutrient loading measurements showed that mobile ions, which were nonvolatile, were constant throughout four successive lagoons. Immobile ions concentrated primarily in the sludge layer of the first lagoon. Measurements of denitrification N2 losses suggest as much N2−N lost as from NH3-N. Ammonia gas emissions are not as large a percentage of total nitrogen input to the lagoons as previously thought but unaccounted-for nitrogen requires further research.

Contribution from the USDA-ARS-JPCNRCC, the National Soil Tilth Lab., and Univ. of Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station.

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