Bioaerosols, ubiquitous in ambient air, are released in elevated concentrations from composting facilities with open-air processing areas. However, spatial and temporal variability of bioaerosols, particularly in relation to meteorology, is not well understood. Here we model relative concentrations of Aspergillus fumigatus at each postcode-weighted centroid within 4 km of 217 composting facilities in England between 2005 and 2014. Facilities were geocoded with the aid of satellite imagery. Data from existing bioaerosol modelling literature were used to build emission profiles in ADMS. Variation in input parameters between each modelled facility was reduced to a minimum. Meteorological data for each composting facility was derived from the nearest SCAIL-Agriculture validated meteorological station. According to our results, modelled exposure risk was driven primarily by wind speed, direction and time-varying emissions factors incorporating seasonal fluctuations in compostable waste. Modelled A.fumigatus concentrations decreased rapidly from the facility boundary and plateaued beyond 1.5–2.0 km. Where multiple composting facilities were within 4 km of each other, complex exposure risk patterns were evident. More long-term bioaerosol monitoring near facilities is needed to help improve exposure estimation and therefore assessment of any health risks to local populations.
Williams, B., Douglas, P., Roca Barcelo, A., Hansell, A., & Hayes, E. (2019). Estimating Aspergillus fumigatus exposure from outdoor composting activities in England between 2005 and 14. Waste Management, 84, 235-244. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wasman.2018.11.044