Modeled effectiveness of ventilation with contaminant control devices on indoor air quality in swine farrowing facility

T. Renée Anthony*, Ralph Altmaier, Jae Hong Park, Thomas M. Peters

Published by Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, at:


Because adverse health effects experienced by swine farm workers in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) have been associated with exposure to dust and gases, efforts to reduce exposures are warranted, particularly in winter seasons when exposures increase due to decreased ventilation.  Simulation of air quality and operating costs for ventilating swine CAFO, including treating and recirculating air through a farrowing room, was performed using mass and energy balance equations over a 90-day winter season.  System operation required controlling heater operation to achieve room temperatures optimal to ensure animal health (20 to 22.5oC). Five air pollution control devices, four room ventilation rates, and five recirculation patterns were examined.  Inhalable dust concentrations were easily reduced using standard industrial air pollution control devices, including a cyclone, filtration, and electrostatic precipitator.  Operating ventilation systems at 0.94 m3 s-1 (2000 cfm) with 75 to 100% recirculation of treated air from cyclone, electrostatic precipitator, and shaker dust filtration system achieves adequate particle control with operating costs under $1.00 per pig produced ($0.22 to 0.54), although carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations approach 2000 ppm using in-room ventilated gas fired heaters. In no simulation were CO2 concentrations below industry recommended concentrations (1540 ppm), but alternative heating devices could reduce CO2 to acceptable concentrations. While this investigation does not represent all production swine farrowing barns, which differ in characteristics including room dimensions and swine occupancy, the simulation model and ventilation optimization methods can be applied to other production sites.  This work shows that ventilation may be a cost-effective control option in the swine industry to reduce exposures.

Schematic of Building and Model Inputs

Schematic of Barn and Model Inputs