Use of CALPUFF for exposure assessment in a near-field, complex terrain setting

Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc., 117 Fourth Avenue, Needham, MA 02494-2725, USA; Tulane University, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Orleans, LA 70118, USA; SI Group, LP, 1701 Southwest Parkway, Suite 100, College Station, TX 77840, USA; Sullivan Environmental Consulting, Inc., 1900 Elkin Street, Suite 240, Alexandria, VA 22308, USA
Atmospheric Environment (Impact Factor: 3.11). 01/2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2009.09.023

ABSTRACT CALPUFF is an atmospheric source-receptor model recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on a case-by-case basis in complex terrain and wind conditions. The ability of the model to provide useful information for exposure assessments in areas with those topographical and meteorological conditions has received little attention. This is an important knowledge gap for use of CALPUFF outside of regulatory applications, such as exposure analyses conducted in support of risk assessments and health studies. We compared deposition of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) calculated with CALPUFF as a result of emissions from a zinc smelter with corresponding concentrations of the metals measured in attic dust and soil samples obtained from the surrounding area. On a point-by-point analysis, predictions from CALPUFF explained 11% (lead) to 53% (zinc) of the variability in concentrations measured in attic dust. Levels of heavy metals in soil interpolated to 100 residential addresses from the distribution of concentrations measured in soil samples also agreed well with deposition predicted with CALPUFF: R2 of 0.46, 0.76, and 079 for Pb, Cd, and Zn, respectively. Community-average concentrations of Cd, Pb, and Zn measured in soil were significantly (p < 0.0001) and strongly correlated (R2 ranged from 0.77 to 0.98) with predicted deposition rates. These findings demonstrate that CALPUFF can provide reasonably accurate predictions of the patterns of long-term air pollutant deposition in the near-field associated with emissions from a discrete source in complex terrain. Because deposition estimates are calculated as a linear function of air concentrations, CALPUFF is expected to be reliable model for prediction of long-term average, near-field ambient air concentrations in complex terrain as well.

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