Air Quality Management Pilot (Research) Project for Dairies

Click Here to view the Pilot Project in PDF Format.

Click Here to see the first Concise Explanatory Statement (all comments submitted and responses to them) including a summary of the revisions to the draft.




Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency

Air Quality Management Policy

and Best Management Practices


for Dairy Operations


Written comments were accepted for the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency Draft Air Quality Management Policy and Best Management Practices for Dairy Operations (Draft Policy) from November 8, 2010 until 5 p.m. December 09, 2010. 


In addition to online, a copy of the AQMP & BMP Pilot Project is available upon request from:


Patty Walker, Clerk of the Board

Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency

329 N First Street

Yakima, WA 98901

(509) 834-2050 ext 102

Policy Introduction:

Public concerns about the possible health effects of air emissions from dairy operations have grown with the increasing size and geographic concentration of these operations. This intensification has been driven by the economics of domestic and export markets for dairy products. Emissions from dairies are a significant concern, not only for new residents in these areas, but for many long-time residents.

There is a lack of reliable methodologies for estimating emissions from dairies. However, the implementation of technically and economically feasible management practices designed to decrease emissions should not be delayed. Best management practices (BMPs) aimed at mitigating air emissions from dairies should continue to be improved and applied as new information is developed on the character, amount, and dispersion of these air emissions, and on their health and environmental effects.

In June this year citizens voiced concerns about the effects of emissions from dairies to the Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency (YRCAA) Board of Directors. As a result the Board directed staff to address these concerns. In July this year staff proposed a policy-making process aimed at identifying and implementing BMPs at dairy operations in YRCAA’s jurisdiction. The Board approved the process and a work group was formed to develop a policy for Board approval. Scientific research, local dairy operator expertise and local dairy technical service provider expertise were consulted in the process. A draft policy document has been developed and is now available for public comment and peer agency review.


Press Release

Pilot (Research) Project Approved

Yakima, WA

Thursday, February 10, 2011

 A Pilot Research Project aimed at gathering information over the next 10 to 12 months on the control and reduction of potential air emissions from Yakima area dairies was approved at today’s Yakima Regional Clean Air Agency (YRCAA) board meeting.  The YRCAA board of directors charged agency staff in early July of 2010 with developing a Dairy Emissions Workgroup as a means to develop an Air Quality Management Policy and Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Dairy Operations. 

The workgroup was formed under the direction of YRCAA Pollution Control Officer Gary Pruitt and has met monthly ever since.  Composed of representatives from the Yakima Valley Dairy Federation, local dairy owners, environmental scientists, YRCAA staff, the Yakama Nation, two YRCAA board members, and the affected public, the workgroup was tasked with making recommendations to Mr. Pruitt as to the substance to consider for inclusion in a policy for air quality management as pertains to dairies. 

Although a policy is not a rule, which requires that a specific process be used, YRCAA chose to follow guidelines set in the state rulemaking process, such as exposing the policy draft to a 30-day public comment period. A draft of the policy for dairy operations was posted on the YRCAA website in early November, soliciting public comments for a 30-day period, thereby giving the public-at-large the final voice on policy elements.  Once he reviewed the public comments, Director Pruitt crafted a final draft which was submitted for board approval today. 

The pilot project calls for voluntary participation by Yakima County dairy operations and oversight and review of YRCAA staff inspections by participating environmental scientists.  Input from all factions is expected to provide a wealth of information, sufficient to determine which BMPs are actually best at addressing eight pollutants identified as having the most potential to become emissions from dairy operations.  These potential pollutants are Ammonia, Nitrous Oxide, Hydrogen Sulfide, Volatile Organic Compounds, Odor, Particulate Matter, Oxides of Nitrogen, and Methane.   The BMPs developed over the course of the pilot project will be pollutant-specific, that is, each designed to limit or eliminate specific pollutants or combinations of pollutants.   Also of interest during the pilot research phase is the determination of which BMPs are feasible to implement from a technical and economic standpoint.

With this approval, the YRCAA board set the pilot research project in motion.  The dairy emissions policy will not be finalized until after an exhaustive 10 to 12 month pilot research project has been completed and reviewed and another draft policy proposal has been subjected to another 30-day public comment period.