Odor-Cued Grab Air Sampling for Improved Assessment of Transient Downwind Environmental Odor Events

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Wright, Donald W.
Parker, David B.
Kuhrt, Fred
Iwasinska, Anna
Eaton, David
Wahe, Landon
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Koziel, Jacek
Professor Emeritus
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering

The Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering seeks to apply knowledge of the laws, forces, and materials of nature to the construction, planning, design, and maintenance of public and private facilities. The Civil Engineering option focuses on transportation systems, bridges, roads, water systems and dams, pollution control, etc. The Construction Engineering option focuses on construction project engineering, design, management, etc.

The Department of Civil Engineering was founded in 1889. In 1987 it changed its name to the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering. In 2003 it changed its name to the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering.

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  • Department of Civil Engineering (1889-1987)
  • Department of Civil and Construction Engineering (1987-2003)
  • Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering (2003–present)

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Downwind odor characteristics can vary, depending upon the size of the upwind source, interim topography, and wind conditions. At one extreme, the downwind odor plume from a relatively large source located on a flat open plain and under stable, near-straight-line wind conditions, can be rather broad, sustained, and predictable. In contrast, the plume from a small point-source (e.g., a roof vent stack) located on irregular topography and under rapidly shifting wind conditions can be intermittent and fleeting (‘spikes’ or ‘bursts’). These transient odor events can be surprisingly intense and offensive despite their fleeting occurrence and perception. This work reports on improving and optimizing an environmental sampling strategy for such transient downwind odor conditions. The optimization, addresses the challenges of (1) sampling of transient odor 'spikes' and (2) prioritizing odors/odorants from multiple, closely co-located point sources under transient event conditions. Prioritizing is defined as identifying the key impactful odorants downwind. Grab air sampling protocol refinement has emerged from community environmental odor assessment projects. The challenge of assessing transient odor events has been mitigated utilizing: (a) rapid, odor-cued whole-air grab sampling (i.e., activated by and synchronous with the perceived sensory spikes) into metalized polymeric gas sampling bags; (b) immediate transfer onto solid-phase microextraction (SPME) fibers or sorbent tubes; (c) refrigerated storage and shipment conditions and (d) in-laboratory analysis. Results demonstrated approximately 11 fold increases in target odorant yields for 900 mL sorbent tube transfers from 2-3 s 'burst' odor event bag-captures compared to equivalent direct collections at the same downwind receptor location but during perceived (stable) odor 'lull' periods. An application targeting general odor sampling and point-source differentiation utilizing tracer gases is also presented.
This presentation is published as Wright, Donald W., Jacek A. Koziel, David B. Parker, Fred Kuhrt, Anna Iwasinska, David Eaton, and Landon Wahe. "Odor-Cued Grab Air Sampling for Improved Assessment of Transient Downwind Environmental Odor Events." In 2022 ASABE Annual International Meeting. American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, 2022. ASABE Paper No. 2200336. DOI: 10.13031/aim.202200336. Copyright 2022 ASABE. Posted with permission.