Professional Custom Accounting Papers: concept of converting pollutants as abstract concentrations (

Professional Custom Accounting Papers: concept of converting pollutants as abstract concentrations (

MEE 6501, Advanced Air Quality Control 2


environment (impacting both ambient air and confined animal space air) that might otherwise be more evenly distributed in a range-grazing situation  (Withgott & Brennan, 2011).


As such, the answer to balancing anthropogenic and natural variables causally related to air quality lies with our ability to engineer systems that work to minimize anthropogenic forces upon nature. This systems approach affords natural variables to minimally impact humans, while affording anthropogenic variables to minimally impact nature. The challenge for the air quality engineer is to understand the natural variables’ air emission potential in given situations, and to engineer the anthropogenic systems (such as our interior coating spray booth project) in such a manner that allows for the natural variables’ air emissions even while mitigating exposures of those emissions to humans.


For example, we understand that hydrocarbons have the natural potential to form volatile organic compounds (VOCs), even without human interaction in nature. However, we also see the use of hydrocarbon compounds in synthetic products such as interior coating materials and other paint products, and subsequently incorporate those hydrocarbons into our synthetic product designs. The engineer’s job then becomes one of learning to forecast and quantify the natural emission rates of the VOC from the hydrocarbon compounds contained as an ingredient in the synthetic paint products. Once the VOC emission rates have been forecasted for a given product, the work system (such as the interior coating spray booth process) can be evaluated for subsequent impacts to the ambient air environment and to human health. This often requires the air quality engineer to calculate emission rates into several different units of measure, to include poundage of VOC per product, poundage of VOC per hour of work exposure, poundage of VOC per year, and even tonnage of VOC per year (TCEQ, 2011). As such, the air quality engineer is practically taking something rather obscure like vapor and converting the VOC into something tangible as units of mass. When the VOC is converted into tangible units of mass as pounds or tons, statistical forecasting mathematics becomes possible (and consequently manageable) within the work system.


This concept of converting pollutants as abstract concentrations (or even percent by weight, as is common in industrial hygiene measurements) into tangible units of mass-based concentration like parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb) then becomes the air quality engineer’s primary unit of evaluation for airborne pollutants, given that ppm (as mg/L) and ppb (ug/L) can be expressed as units of mass-based concentration for almost any air pollutant represented (Phalen & Phalen, 2013).


Air quality assessments get even more interesting once the air quality engineer considers that noise may be treated as a form of either atmospheric or ambient pollution. Your textbook demonstrates this with the argument that sound energy causally related to “noise” is transmitted largely through the air environment. Suddenly, we find the need to also measure air quality through measures of dimensionless units of decibels (dB) in order to adequately evaluate air quality impacts on human health.


Consequently, engineered air quality focused on protecting human health by minimizing impacts of our anthropogenic activities must be considered a critical work system variable. As we may recall from our Unit I material, even aerosols in the ambient air have the ability to refract (bend) light waves. In much the same way, air pollutants may serve to refract or reflect sound waves. In contrast, noise levels may serve as air pollutants to ambient environments of interests, such as residential, commercial, or recreational sites.


Your textbook spends a good amount of time explaining the health effects of noise pollution in our ambient air environment, including biological and psychophysiological processes, in addition to the hearing impairment problems associated with noise pollution. Closely consider the quantitative measurement techniques discussed within this unit as they relate to noise pollution, and be ready to incorporate them as a final consideration during your Unit VIII project assignment. While the Title V Air Permit process does not specifically address noise pollution (the over-arching permit associated with the Permit by Rule (PBR) application for our project), we will still include it in our permit application process.


In our course project, we refer again to our Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) regulatory guidance document for surface coating facilities (Click here to access the document).


Within the TCEQ’s (2011, Appendix D) guidance document, we select Example: Maximum Hourly VOC Emission Rate for our scenario work. We will use these steps to calculate our hourly VOC quantities for our

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