In October 2016, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) conducted air dispersion modeling that shows the dispersion of ammonia from the Hickman's facilities in Arlington and Tonopah, AZ.
Results of NH3 Concentrations
AAAQG Standard: 140 µg/m3, 24 hour
MRL (Minimal Risk Level): 1.7 ppm (1,224 µg/3), derived for acute-duration inhalation exposure (14 days or less)
Maximum modeled 24-hour concentration at fenceline: 5,780 µg/m3 (fenceline of the Tonopah facility)
Maximum modeled 24-hour concentration at the nearest residential area: ~ 300 µg/m3 (1.2 km east side of the Tonopah facility).
The modeling doesn't include the ammonia emissions from the rotary dryer at the Arlington facility, which would be a considerable amount, since the manure from both facilities containing about nine million birds is brought there to be run through the rotary dryer. (Think of tons of ammonia-laden chicken manure in the oven...) The modeling also understated the risk by modeling the releases at 1.5 meters above the ground, when the chicken barns are four stories tall, with vents on the roof and an 84 foot wide opening on the east side of these barns.
Still, the modeling states, "Maximum modeled 24-hour concentration at the nearest residential area: ~ 300 µg/m3 (1.2 km east side of the Tonopah facility). " But there are homes across the street from this facility, as well as all around it, AND that far exceeds the 0.1 ppm chronic-duration inhalation exposure (365 days or more) to ammonia set by ATSDR. (An MRL of 0.1 ppm has been derived for chronic-duration inhalation exposure (365 days or more) to ammonia. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp126-c8.pdf)
A college professor with a PhD in chemistry calculated that 0.1 ppm = 72 µg/m3 .
The AAAQG Standard: 140 µg/m3, 24 hour, is about double the maximum chronic 365 days or more exposure standard set by ATSDR.
Look at the modeling map and figure where boundary of 72 µg/m3 is. The Arlington Elementary School is certainly within a zone of much higher concentration of ammonia, up to three times the 365 day chronic exposure standard. So is much of Tonopah. The standard emergency planning modeling software, ALOHA, was not used by ADEQ, but its model indicates the communities near these ammonia emissions should be evacuated.
DWAZ reported our concerns about ammonia in the air at Arlington Elementary School in November 2015, and consistently since then, to the ADEQ, the Arizona Emergency Response Commission, and Governor Ducey, with no action being taken.
DWAZ believes this is gross negligence. This is the Flint, Michigan of Arizona. Except in Flint, a person can avoid exposure to harmful chemicals by drinking water from another source. People in Arlington and Tonopah have no similar choice.
Children exposed to the same levels of ammonia vapor as adults may receive larger dose because they have greater lung surface area:body weight ratios and increased minute volumes:weight ratios. In addition, they may be exposed to higher levels than adults in the same location because of their short stature and the higher levels of ammonia vapor found nearer to the ground. Repeated exposure to ammonia may cause chronic irritation of the respiratory tract. Chronic cough, asthma and lung fibrosis have been reported. Chronic irritation of the eye membranes and dermatitis have also been reported.
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