Equilibrium sampling used to monitor malodors in a swine waste lagoon

John H. Loughrin, Nanh Lovanh, Rezaul Mahmood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The concentrations of malodorous compounds in a 0.4-ha anaerobic lagoon that received waste from approximately 2000 sows were monitored during the late summer to late fall of 2006 to gain insight into the factors influencing their concentrations. Selected malodorous compounds were measured by the use of equilibrium samplers consisting of submersible stir plates and stir bar sorbtive sampling with polydimethylsiloxane-coated magnetic stir bars. During the same period, air and water temperatures, suspended solids, total organic carbon and nitrogen content, and wastewater pH were recorded. Concentrations of malodorous compounds were higher at the surface of the lagoon than at the middle or bottom of the lagoon. Skatole concentration, for instance, averaged 54, 24, and 38 μg L-1 near the surface, in the middle, and at the lowest sampling depths, respectively. While the lagoon was being pumped down during field application of wastewater, concentrations of malodorous compounds fluctuated widely, increased 16-fold as compared with the sampling period before pumping, and continued to increase as fall progressed and temperatures cooled. Suspended solids, volatile suspended solids, and total organic carbon increased near the bottom of the lagoon during this same period. The increases in the concentrations of malodorous compounds in the wastewater during the fall could have been due to a combination of several factors. These factors include reduced degradation by lagoon bacteria, less wind stripping of volatile compounds from the lagoon surface due to lowering of the lagoon surface after crop application, and/or reduced evaporation of malodorous compounds due to falling temperatures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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