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In summer 2012, a landfill liner comprising an estimated 1.3 million shredded tires burned in Iowa City, Iowa. During the fire, continuous monitoring and laboratory measurements were used to characterize the gaseous and particulate emissions and to provide new insights into the qualitative nature of the smoke and the quantity of pollutants emitted. Significant enrichments in ambient concentrations of CO, CO2, SO2, particle number (PN), fine particulate (PM2.5) mass, elemental carbon (EC), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were observed. For the first time, PM2.5 from tire combustion was shown to contain PAH with nitrogen heteroatoms (a.k.a. azaarenes) and picene, a compound previously suggested to be unique to coal-burning. Despite prior laboratory studies' findings, metals used in manufacturing tires (i.e. Zn, Pb, Fe) were not detected in coarse particulate matter (PM10) at a distance of 4.2 km downwind. Ambient measurements were used to derive the first in situ fuel-based emission factors (EF) for the uncontrolled open burning of tires, revealing substantial emissions of SO2 (7.1 g kg−1), particle number (3.5 × 1016 kg−1), PM2.5 (5.3 g kg−1), EC (2.37 g kg−1), and 19 individual PAH (totaling 56 mg kg−1). A large degree of variability was observed in day-to-day EF, reflecting a range of flaming and smoldering conditions of the large-scale fire, for which the modified combustion efficiency ranged from 0.85 to 0.98. Recommendations for future research on this under-characterized source are also provided.
J. Downard, A. Singh, R. Bullard, T. Jayarathne, C. M. Rathnayake, D. L . Simmons, B. R. Wels, S. N. Spak, T. Peters, D. Beardsley, C.s O. Stanier, & E . A. Stone (2015) Uncontrolled combustion of shredded tires in a landfill – Part 1: Characterization of gaseous and particulate emissions, ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT 104:195-204.