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Demonstrating compliance with air quality standards using dispersion modeling is increasingly difficulty because of significant tightening National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) that has occurred in the last decade. Compliance with these standards is usually demonstrated using AERMOD, EPA’s standard model for assessing air quality impacts from industrial sources. However, AERMOD often produces higher predictions of air quality impacts due to the inherent conservative (high) assumptions and simplifications in its formulation. A specific situation involves the calculations used to assess the impacts of air flow downwash around buildings. Although the theory used to estimate these effects was developed for a limited set of building types, these formulae are applied indiscriminately to all types of buildings in a conservative fashion, often leading to significant overpredictions of downwash effects.
This presentation covers the basics of wind tunnel modeling and how it can be used to correct downwash induced overpredictions to achieve compliance. The presentation will also describe the setup and execution of wind tunnel modeling at a food processing facility to develop improved downwash parameters and increase the accuracy of dispersion modeling results.