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PM2.5 - Assessment and Treatment Alternatives

CTU = Conservation Treatment Unit
NCPS = National Conservation Practice Standard
NOx = Nitrous Oxides
SO2 = Sulfur Dioxide

PM2.5 - Fine particles, such as those found in combustion products, smoke, and haze, are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. Due to their small size, they behave more like a gas and may easily be inhaled deeply into the lungs. PM2.5 particles (primary) can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires and field operations or they can form as secondary particles when gases (NOx and SO2) emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles react in the air to form  sulfate (S04), Nitrate (NO3) and acid mists. Particles can be directly toxic (heavy metals and organic compounds) or aggravate pre-existing heart and respiratory conditions. Particles can be solid or liquid. Primary agricultural sources are animal feeding operations, combustion of petroleum products, and debris and residue burning. PM2.5 particles deposit at an extremely slow rate and can travel many hundreds of miles from the source.

Is there an animal feeding operation (AFO) on the CTU? Medium and large open and confined AFOs can be major sources of PM2.5.

Yes or No. If yes, consider practices/management techniques that reduce or eliminate PM2.5 generation such as:

  • Waste utilization, handling and management (NCPS Numbers 313, 366, 633, and 317)
  • Frequent manure transfer/removal/scraping (NCPS Number 634)
  • Sprinkler irrigation (NCPS Number 442)
  • Waste facility cover (NCPS Number 367)
  • Bio-filter installation (Amendments for Treatment of Ag. Waste (NCPC Number 591)
  • Feed management (NCPS Number 592)
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP).

Is any agricultural or prescribed burning planned within the CTU? Open burning is regulated under the provisions of Montana’s Clean Air Act.

Yes or No. If yes, consider practices/management techniques that reduce or eliminate PM2.5 generation such as:

  • Consider non-burn alternatives
  • Utilize emission reduction techniques in burn plan (NCPS Number 338)
  • Develop and follow smoke management/burn plan (NCPS Number 338).

Are diesel engines utilized in a manner or location within the CTU where undesirable levels of PM2.5 may result? Intermountain valleys of western Montana or other locations where inversions or poor air movement regularly develops may be affected by diesel engine emissions.

Yes or No. If yes, consider practices/techniques that reduce or eliminate PM2.5 generation such as:

  • Combustion System Improvement (NCPS Number 372)
  • Switch combustion engines out to electric motors
  • Utilize newer certified engines – diesel, natural gas or propane
  • Retrofit existing engine – add-on technologies to reduce emissions
  • Alternative fuel blends.

Is there any bulk, dry materials handling activity (grain elevator, bulk fertilizers, manure) planned on the CTU?

Yes or No. Grain elevator dust is usually larger than PM10 but may aggravate a localized fine particulate issue. If yes, consider practices/techniques that reduce or eliminate PM2.5 generation such as:

  • Waste utilization, transfer, and management (NCPS Numbers 313, 366, 633, 317)
  • Construction of living and/or artificial windbreaks, herbaceous wind barriers and/or hedgerow plantings (NCPS Numbers 380, 386, 561, 589c, 603), that will disturb air flow patterns thereby serving to increase or decrease air flow and reduce energy costs, as needed
  • Utilize tarped or enclosed loading facility and/or transport to decrease incidental loss.
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