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Air Emissions Study


May 2, 2008
By CNW

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May 2, 2008, Calgary – The Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA) announced a 10 point plan to address air emissions from confined feeding operations in Alberta. Members of CASA's Confined Feeding Operations (CFO) Project Team have committed to support and implement recommendations on monitoring, research and managing emissions between 2008 and 2011.|

The CFO team, representing industry, government and non-government organizations, was created 2005 to develop a plan to improve the management of air emissions from CFOs and to improve relationships between stakeholders. The team focussed on five priority substances (ammonia, hydrogen sulphide,
volatile organics compounds, particulate matter and bioaerosols/pathogens) and one priority issue (odour) in developing the plan.
   
The Government of Alberta and industry will be implementing the team's recommendations over the next three years. Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development (AARD) will be monitoring the air around CFOs starting this year to determine the source and amount of emissions. There will also be further research into mechanisms used to manage emissions by government and industry. The team will reconvene at CASA in 2011 to review progress and make further recommendations.

BACKGROUND

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Confined Feeding Operations in Alberta

Definition: Confined feeding operations (CFOs) are defined as fenced or enclosed land or buildings where livestock are confined for the purposes of growing, sustaining, finishing or breeding by means other than grazing, and any other building or structure directly related to that purpose, but does not include residences, livestock seasonal feeding and bedding sites, equestrian stables, auction markets, race tracks or exhibition grounds (Agricultural Operation Practices Act, Section 1).

Types of livestock: The legislation applies to a variety of livestock categories including beef, dairy, swine, poultry, turkeys, ducks, geese, horses, sheep, goats, bison, cervid (elk/deer), and wild boars.
     In Alberta, a CFO is generally thought of as beef feedlots, hog operations, dairy operations, and chicken, turkey and egg operations. As of 2004, Alberta had approximately dispersed throughout the province, including:

     –   212 feedlots with over 1000 head capacity
     –   1200 hog operations
     –   800 dairy operations,
     –   285 broiler operations,
     –   40 hatching egg operations,
     –   59 turkey operations, and
     –   170 table egg operations

CFOs and Air Quality

An important issue facing existing, expanding and new CFOs relates to public concerns about odour and dust. These arise from nuisance complaints as well as from concerns about the impact of odour and dust on the health of workers, neighbours and local communities. Questions have also arisen about
the impact of specific CFO air emissions, including ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and endotoxins, on human and animal health and on air and environmental quality.

CFO emissions are generally diffuse, arising from point and non-point sources,(2) such as feeding pens, lagoons or land after manure application. The emissions arise from the animals themselves, manure, and buildings, and include dust from roads and cropping.
    
Odour is a natural output of CFOs. Odour emissions from livestock are complex and comprise over 160 compounds. Odour is difficult to quantify and individual reactions to odour are highly variable and hard to predict. These conditions make it very difficult to assess the impacts of odours, resolve odour concerns and implement effective odour controls.

As the CFO industry grew, there was a recognized need to more effectively address a) public concerns about air quality related to CFOs, and b) land use conflicts arising due to Alberta's rapid economic growth.(3) Implementing reasonable, scientifically sound air management practices by CFOs will improve
air quality and protect human, animal and environmental health, improve relations between livestock producers and local communities, and ensure the economic prosperity of Alberta's livestock industry.