Animal Carcasses and Air Curtain Burners

Occasionally, epidemics or unexpected disasters can cause the death of many animals. As is always the case after even just one death, maintaining standards of sanitation is of vital importance, but most especially after the epidemics of contagious diseases. It is necessary to find a way to dispose of the carcasses without spreading pathogens to other animals or to the surrounding human populace.

Air Curtain Burners are a fantastic means of managing and disposing of animal carcasses. Air Curtain Destructors are renowned for their safe and clean burning, which is why obtaining burn permits is normally easier when using an air curtain burner versus when open burning (see our page about The Difference). Just as smoke and sparks are trapped beneath the curtain of air when burning, so are pathogens. Thanks to the curtain of air that oxygenates the fire, the fire below the air curtain burns extremely hot and extremely well, thoroughly destroying everything within the burn pit. Please note the following summary of a study conducted on the burning of poultry with an air curtain burner:

“Tests were run on a pilot-scale ACB burning a combination of wood and poultry carcasses.  The tests were run to evaluate potential emissions of pathogens (using spores of a nonpathogenic bacterium as a surrogate pathogen) as a function of degrading system combustion efficiency due to overcharging of poultry carcasses.  The objective of the tests was to evaluate whether pathogens might be released from an ACB system as air emissions or in ash if the performance of the ACB began to degrade due to operational issues, or whether effective pathogen destruction still occurred in spite of potentially increased air emissions from the ACB due to operational issues.  If environmental performance (visually observed by a well-trained operator) degrades prior to a reduction in complete pathogen destruction, then it is likely that operational adjustments and corrective actions could be made based on easily observable increases in visible emissions without an increased risk of pathogen release, provided corrective action is taken quickly.  Although the nature of the test facility prevented the quantitative measurement of visible emissions using opacity measurement methods, there was significantly more black smoke formed during the high poultry feed rate conditions. Overall these observations suggest that:

  • There does not appear to be an observable difference between the residual viable spore results under the two sets of test conditions.  All test conditions resulted in no measureable viable spores in the exhaust gases, residual bottom ash, or on the post-combustion wall wipe samples.  The floor sweeping samples showed positive spore counts occasionally, but there was not a difference that was statistically quantifiable; and
  • Within the limitations of the experimental apparatus and associated detection limits, it does not appear that measurable quantities of viable spores were released from combustion of the inoculated poultry even at poultry feed rates that resulted in pollutant emissions at least a factor of five higher than the baseline ACB emissions while burning wood only.”

For the full article from the EPA, click here.

In the case of such disasters where the management and disposal of many animal carcasses is necessary, the utilization of an air curtain destructor would be a safe and viable method of caring for this problem.