USEPA Flux Chamber Technology Applied to Area Sources Not Commonly Measured or for Species that Present Unique Challenges

This section is meant to show the versatility of the USEPA flux chamber measurement technology, but it's really more for fun.  Most of the time we are assessing emissions from hazardous waste sites or permitted industrial sites, but not all the time.  Here are some examples of programs where the USEA flux chamber applications were unique and very interesting (and fun too!).

This first shot (photo 1) is not done with smoke and mirrors.  We were studying off-gassing of formaldehyde from construction materials found in RVs and trailers.  While indoor ambient samples were being collected, a tripod was used to measure the flux from the ceiling construction materials and other gymnastic orientations.

Photo 2 was an assessment of a potentially hazardous by-product compound that is made when swimming pools are disinfected using hypochlorite (bleach).  The air emissions for this compound were measured under various pool use conditions and time of day.  The best part was of the program, other than teaching science to the minnows, was swimming between testing activities- typically not done at other 'liquid source' testing sites.

One type of assessment that is always a challenge is testing air emissions from a complex, 3-D source such as a tank weir commonly found at water treatment facilities.  Here (photo 3) is an example of fabricating (usually on the site) a Plexiglas box around the source that fits the flux chamber so that the emissions from a given length of weir is captured and introduced into the USEPA flux chamber.  This adaptation is similar to capturing fugitive emissions from various industrial processes, including ports, covers, seams on floating tank covers and the like.

Validation work is always fun, plus it keeps me in the lab once and awhile.  Photo 4 shows the USEPA flux chamber rack-mounted over a volatile fatty acid (VFA) generator system designed and operated by Steve Hoyt with EAS.  We needed to assess the recovery of VFAs from the flux chamber and this worked like a charm.  This work was part of our dairy site assessment work and we published the results, which showed quantitative recovery of these sticky semi-volatile compounds from the flux chamber.

We run the full range of weather conditions, more often very hot in our dry, summer conditions in the west, but we also test in very cold, winter season conditions.  Photo 5 was taken at a co-mingled VOC/radioactive landfill in a mountainous region in the west.  VOC flux in the winter was actually very similar to summer conditions, much to our surprise.  And yes, it was very cold.

Photo 6 didn't transfer from slide-to-digital image very well, but that floating thing to the left of the flux chamber......that's an alligator.  Testing in waste treatment ponds in east Texas brought out the local reptile population, and they are very a very curious bunch.  The really big ones hang back some, as if they expected us to bother them, but the smaller guys really became a nuisance as shown here (photo 7).  He decided that I was more interesting than the flux chamber floating in his lagoon.

The orientation of Photo 8 is correct; the flux chamber is propped up against a brick wall, and is illuminated with heat lamps (Hollywood shot).  The idea was to determine how much of the study compounds (pesticides and herbicides) would off-gas from building walls and floor under high heat conditions from an ag chemical rebottling/retail center.  The study structure was being cleaned up and plans were to redevelop the site.  These studies showed the amount and under what conditions compounds would be released from the building walls and floor.

There are so many very interesting and unique programs, but we will close with cows (photo 9).  We have done quite a lot of work at dairies and have amassed quite an impressive data set.  And working at dairies has always been interesting and challenging.  The dairymen are an honorable bunch and good to work with.  The work is hard and there are many long days, but one constant at dairies is the cows; they are ever present, ever curious, and good companions.

Well, if you don't have a site assessment in mind, let's grab the gear and go fishing!  (photo 10)

measuring formaldehyde emissions
Photo 1- Measuring Formaldehyde Emissions from Ceiling Material in Trailer

measring halomethane flux
Photo 2- Measuring Halomethane Flux from Chlorinated Swimming Pool Water Using the Flux Chamber

flux chamber adapter emissions
Photo 3- Measuring Emissions from Weir at a Municipal WWT Using an Adaptor

quality assurance recovery testing flux chamber
Photo 4- Quality Assurance Recovery Testing for Volatile Fatty Acids in the USEPA Flux Chamber

flux chamber testing voc emissions
Photo 5- Flux Chamber Used to Measure VOC Emissions from Landfill in the Winter

flux chamber testng alligators
Photo 6- Flux Chamber Testing in a Treatment Lagoon in the Southeast with Alligators

aligator flux chamber
Photo 7- Photo of Resident Alligator Observing Flux Chamber Testing in His Lagoon

flux chamber measuring emissions pesticides
Photo 8- Flux Chamber Used to Measure Emissions from Brick Wall Contaminated with Pesticides/Herbicides as a Function of Surface Temperature

diurnal flux measurement ammonia
Photo 9- Diurnal Flux Measurements of Ammonia over 24-Hour Time Period

flux chamber guy hiking to fish
Photo 10- Flux Chamber Guy Hiking to Secret Fishing Spot in Southern Ontario