Use of Recirculating Ventilation with Dust Filtration to Improve Wintertime Air Quality in a Swine Farrowing Room

T. Renée Anthony, Ralph Altmaier, Samuel Jones, Rich Gassman, Jae Hong Park, Thomas M. Peters

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 12(9):634-646 (2015)


The performance of a recirculating ventilation system with dust filtration was evaluated to determine its effectiveness to improve the air quality in a swine farrowing room of a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO).  Air was exhausted from the room (0.47 m3sec-1; 1000 cfm), treated with a filtration unit (Shaker-Dust Collector), and returned to the farrowing room to reduce dust concentrations while retaining heat necessary for livestock health.  The air quality in the room was assessed over a winter, during which time limited fresh air is traditionally brought into the building.  Over the study period, dust concentrations ranged from 0.005 to 0.31 mg m-3 (respirable) and 0.17 to 2.09 mg m-3 (inhalable).  In-room dust concentrations were reduced (41% for respirable and 33% for inhalable) with the system in operation, while gas concentrations (ammonia [NH3], hydrogen sulfide [H2S], carbon monoxide [CO], carbon dioxide [CO2]) were unchanged.  The position of the exhaust and return air systems provided reasonably uniform contaminant distributions, although the respirable dust concentrations nearest one of the exhaust ducts was statistically higher than other locations in the room, with differences averaging only 0.05 mg m-3.  Throughout the study, CO2 concentrations consistently exceeded 1540 ppm (industry recommendations) and on eight of the 18 study days it exceeded 2500 ppm (50% of the ACGIH TLV), with significantly higher concentrations near a door to a temperature-controlled hallway that was typically often left open.  Alternative heaters are recommended to reduce CO2 concentrations in the room.  Contaminant concentrations were modeled using production and environmental factors, with NH3 related to the number of sow in the room and outdoor temperatures and CO2 related to the number of piglets and outdoor temperatures.  The recirculating ventilation system provided dust reduction without increasing concentrations of hazardous gases. 

Room Layout with New Ventilation System:

Ventilation Schematic for Test Barn

Respirable Dust Concentrations over the Season:

Respirable Dust with SDC Intervention