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3.3.5. The Requirement to Run the COMPDEP Model Twice

In order to provide estimates of ambient air concentrations of vapor-phase and particle-phase dioxins, combined with estimates of wet/dry particle deposition flux, it is necessary to run the COMPDEP model twice. Both model runs should assume a "unit emissions release rate", e.g., 1 g/s. Results from these unit runs can easily be transformed to final outputs given assumptions on emissions in vapor and particle forms. Two assumptions are required, as outlined above. One is the total emission rate of the compound, in units of mass/time (g/sec), and the second is the vapor/particle partitioning of this total emission. The two runs are:

Run 1: To estimate vapor-phase concentration of the contaminant in ambient air.

COMPDEP should be run with the wet/dry deposition switches turned to the "off" position. This is to isolate the ambient air concentration of the contaminant in vapor-phase from the calculation of wet and dry particle deposition flux.

table Table 3-9 Wet deposition scavenging coefficients per particle diameter category (micrometers), expressed per second of time.
This inactivates a plume depletion equation that subtracts out losses in ambient air concentration due to particle deposition. What is left are the Gaussian dispersion algorithms.

With the "unitized" emission rate, one can reconstruct the actual predicted ambient air concentration (g/m3) of vapors by multiplying the "actual" vapor-phase emission rate (g/s) by the "unitized" modeling result.

For example, let the actual stack gas emission rate of total (vapor plus particle components) contaminant be 1x10-5 g/s, and the V/P ratio (expected under ambient conditions) be 60%V/40%P.
expand table Table V3 3-9
Then the "actual" emission rate of the vapor-phase portion of the contaminant is calculated to be 6x10-6 g/s (1x10-5 g/s *0.6).

If the "unitized" ambient air concentration at the ground-level receptor is estimated by the COMPDEP model to be 1x10-8 m g/m3 (i.e., this concentration is predicted with a unit emission rate of 1 g/s), then the "actual" predicted air concentration at that receptor can be estimated as:

Diagram V3 3-8

Run 2: To estimate wet and dry particle deposition flux, and the ambient air concentration of the contaminant that is particle-bound. 

COMPDEP should be run with the wet/dry particle deposition switches turned to the "on" position, and using a "unit emission rate" of 1 g/s. This second run is considered a simulation of particle-bound contaminant only. Outputs of this run include unitized deposition rate and unitized ambient air concentrations of particles.

Like the vapor-phase run, the "actual" deposition flux (g/m-2 -yr) and "actual" particle-phase airborne concentrations can then be determined by multiplying the "actual" emission rate (g/s) of the particle-bound portion of the total contaminant emissions by the "unitized" modeling result at the ground receptor. For example, let the "actual" emission rate of the particle-bound portion of the contaminant be 4x10-6 g/s, and the "unitized" dry deposition flux at the ground receptor be 1x10-5 g/m2-yr. Then the "actual" predicted dry deposition flux is 4x10-11 g/m2 (4x10-6 g/s 1 g/s * 1x10-5 g/m2-yr). Using this same procedure, this second run provides the airborne concentration of contaminants bound to particles (m g/m3).

Inhalation exposures are estimated as the sum of vapor and particle phase concentrations. Air-to-plant transfers require the vapor phase concentrations for vapor transfers and the particle-phase depositions. The air-to-soil algorithm requires particle phase depositions.


The preceding subsections have presented general procedures for conducting air modeling of the emissions of dioxin-like compounds from the stack to the ground, starting with estimation of emission factors, vapor/particle partitioning at the stack, and proceeding to atmospheric dispersion and deposition using EPA's COMPDEP model. Where appropriate, previous subsections have also included discussion on the assumptions and the selection of parameters for the hypothetical incinerator which is demonstrated in Chapter 5. For example, Section 3.2.3 provided the emission factors that were used in this demonstration. This section will provide all other details of the hypothetical incinerator and provide the final results of the COMPDEP model simulations.

To reiterate, the purpose of the hypothetical construct is to help readers understand how to apply these principles to the air dispersion modeling and analysis of dioxin emissions from the source. Therefore, generalizations should not be made on the basis of this example regarding the magnitude of the emissions release and associated environmental impact.

A completely hypothetical incinerator was devised to serve as the example. Accordingly, a hypothetical, but realistic, incineration technology, facility size, stack height, and geographical location was selected. The hypothetical incineration facility has an assumed total daily capacity of 200 metric tons of organic waste materials. The emission rates of specific congeners of PCDD/Fs were derived from the stack testing and monitoring of emissions from a modern incinerator of this size. These emissions are expressed in units of g/sec, and are shown for the hypothetical incinerator in Table 3-10.

In constructing the hypothetical case, the following was defined: stack height; stack diameter; exit velocity of the gaseous emissions from the stack; and temperature of the exhaust gases characteristic of incineration facilities of this size. In order to access historical meteorological data for air modeling purposes, the hypothetical facility was located in a specific geographical area having specific meteorological conditions. To simplify the ambient air modeling and deposition, the hypothetical organic waste incinerator was assumed to exist in a simple terrain setting (e.g., flat terrain). By definition, simple terrain refers to an area where the terrain features are all lower in elevation than the top of the stack of the stationary source under analysis.

table Table 3-10. Emission of PCDD/Fs (g/sec)
from the hypothetical incinerator.
The dispersion and deposition computations performed by the COMPDEP model require data on wind speed, wind direction, wind profile above the surface, and hourly precipitation data. When performing a regulatory analysis, e.g., to set air quality permit conditions, EPA's Guideline on Air Quality Models (EPA, 1986a) recommends the use of five consecutive years of representative meteorological data.

However, in this example analysis only one year of meteorological data was used as compiled at the Denver-Stapleton International Airport by the National Weather Service (NWS), because this was not intended as a regulatory analysis.
expand table Table V3 3-10

Hourly measurements of wind speed, wind direction, temperature, and precipitation were used as a basis of computing annual average ground-level concentrations of dioxin in ambient air, and as a basis for the estimation of the dry and wet deposition flux.

The Pasquill-Gifford (P-G) stability categories, were used as defined in the Modeling Guidelines. The specifications of stability categories depending on wind speed, cloud cover and mixing heights were established by Pasquill (1961), and later modified by Turner (1964). Reference is made here to Tables 9-3 and 9-4 on pages 9-21,22 of the Modeling Guidelines which gives a method for estimating P-G Stability Categories for daytime and nighttime conditions based on surface roughness and the wind speed profiles distributed in the United States.

table Table 3-11. Modeling parameters used in the COMPDEP modeling of PCDD/F emissions from the hypothetical incinerator..
To summarize, inputs for the COMPDEP model included hourly meteorological data, source characteristics and receptor features. Hourly meteorological data requirements are the mean wind speed, the direction from which the wind is blowing, the wind-profile exponent, the ambient air temperature, the Pasquill stability category, the vertical potential temperature gradient with height, the mixing layer height, and the frequency distribution of hourly precipitation. Source input data requirements included the congener-specific mass emission rate partitioned by vapor and particulate; the physical stack measurements, e.g., diameter, base elevation of the stack, and exit velocity and temperature of the stack gas, and settling parameters for particulate matter for both dry and wet deposition.
expand table Table V3 3-11

Table 3-10 is a review of the congener-specific emissions data, and Table 3-11 is a review of the modeling parameters used in the air quality modeling of the hypothetical incinerator

The output of the COMPDEP model for both surface deposition and ambient air impacts is a concentration array for 160 ground-level receptors around the incinerator, e.g., 10 receptor points along each of the 16 wind directions every 22.5 on the polar azimuth. Vapor and particle phase concentrations are in units of grams per cubic meter of air (g/m3), and particle-bound depositions are in units of grams per square meter of surface area per year (g/m2-yr).

Results for both ambient air and surface deposition were estimated at concentric radial distances from the incinerator of 0.2, 0.5, 0.8, 0.9, 1.0, 2.0, 5.0, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 kilometers. The maximum annual average ground-level vapor and particle-phase air concentrations of all modeled congeners is estimated to occur 900 meters from the center of the stack. Tables 3-12, 3-13, and 3-14 display the annual average vapor-phase, particle-phase, and total (vapor+particle) air concentrations of dioxin-like congeners at various distances in the direction of the maximum impact.

Tables 3-15, 3-16, and 3-17 display the dry, wet, and total (dry+wet) deposition fluxes of dioxin-like compounds at various distances in the direction of maximum impact. The maximum annual average dry deposition flux occurs 800 meters from the center of the stack, although there is no significant difference from the 900 m distance where the maximum annual average ambient air concentration occurs. The maximum annual average wet deposition occurs 200 meters from the center of the stack, which is what is expected from the algorithm (refer to subsection 3.3.4. Estimation of Wet Deposition Flux).


This chapter has detailed a procedure for evaluating site-specific impacts from stack emission sources. For purposes of demonstration, a hypothetical incinerator was defined, and using the COMPDEP model, estimates of vapor-phase concentrations and particle phase depositions at points around the stack were made. Three major points for estimating impacts of dioxin-like compounds using the COMPDEP or other models are as follows:

1. Characterize the emissions on a congener-specific basis:
Although much of the information available on stack emission sources in on a TEQ or a homologue group basis, and not a congener-specific basis, the approach in this assessment, and the recommendation made here, is to conduct site-specific assessments using specific congener emissions. This is because fate and transport parameters, and bioconcentration/biotransfer parameters, are different for the various congeners.

Assuming one set of such parameters for TEQ emissions can lead to a different estimated exposure media TEQ concentration than assuming congener-specific parameters and then, given estimated congener-specific concentrations, calculating TEQ exposure media concentrations with the TEF scheme. Emission factors were used in this assessment todescribe source and site-specific emissions.

These are defined as the mass of contaminant emitted per mass of feed material combusted. Procedures to convert other emission data, such as mass per time emitted or concentration emitted, are presented.
table Table 3-12. Predicted annual average vapor-phase concentrations of PCDD/Fs (g/m3).. table Table 3-13. Predicted annual average vapor-phase concentrations of PCDD/Fs (g/m3)..
expand table Table V3 3-12 expand table Table V3 3-13
table Table 3-14. Predicted total (vapor + particle) ambient air
concentrations of PCDD/s (g/m3).
table Table 3-15. Predicted annual dry deposition fluxes of particle-bound PCDD/Fs (g/m2-yr).
expand table Table V3 3-14 expand table Table V3 3-15
table Table 3-16. Predicted annual wet deposition fluxes of particle-bound PCDDs/Fs (g/m2-yr). table Table 3-17. Predicted total (dry + wet) deposition fluxes of particle-bound PCDD/Fs (g/m2-yr).
expand table Table V3 3-16 expand table Table V3 3-17
2. Estimate the vapor/particle partitioning for atmospheric transport and deposition modeling:
Vapors are dispersed assuming Gaussian plume dispersion algorithms, and particles are transported and deposited via wet and dry deposition. The principal output of the atmospheric transport model, COMPDEP, used for further exposure analysis are the vapor and particle phase concentrations, and the wet and dry deposition totals at sites of exposure.

There is some thought that the partitioning between the vapor and particle phases at the stack differs from the partitioning in ambient air. Such a difference might be due to the difference in temperature at the stack versus temperature of ambient air. If so, then deposition and dispersion trends in the close vicinity of the stack may differ from such trends further from the stack. Currently the data to support such a hypothesis is lacking; the earlier review of stack vapor/particle partitioning was inconclusive. Also, modeling approaches for such differences are unavailable.

Instead, the approach in this chapter is to assume one partitioning scheme (separate V/P partitioning for individual congeners) for atmospheric transport and dispersion modeling. The scheme adopted in this assessment is based on a theoretical approach described by Bidleman (1988).

3. Conduct atmospheric dispersion and deposition modeling:
The COMPDEP model is used in this assessment to estimate vapor and particle-phase concentrations, and wet and dry deposition totals for points around the stack emission source. Key inputs are vapor phase and particulate phase emission rates (rather than emission factor units, atmospheric transport models require emission rates in units of mass/time, or g/sec), stack descriptors (stack height, exit temperature, etc.), atmospheric transport parameters (particle size distributions, dry deposition velocity), meteorological data (hourly rainfall, windspeeds, etc.), and terrain descriptions. Procedures to translate the final model outputs of concentrations and deposition fluxes into exposure media concentrations is given in Chapter 4, Section 4.5.


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