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Manure Spills

Report a Spill

Spill Response Guidelines:

  1. Assure Human Safety – call 911 for all road incidents.
  2. Stop the Flow at the Source
  3. Contain and Control the Existing Spill – keep manure from entering watercourses, ditches, lakes or wells.
  4. Notify the Proper Authorities – Follow your Emergency Action Plan.
  5. Clean Up the Spill – collect spilled manure and apply to crop land. Document the spill in a report.

Download the Manure Spills Report Form

To report a spill, contact:

Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment:
Spill Control Centre 1-800-667-7525

Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock Branch at 1-306-787-2150.

Manure Spills

Livestock producers generally handle manure properly However, it is understood that even the best maintained equipment can fail, resulting in manure possibly being placed in an inappropriate location. Among a host of equipment failures are pump breakdowns, hose ruptures, transport unit rollovers and end gate neglect.

Manure is an organic and relatively inert material, so the environmental risk of a release is usually low. Regardless, it is prudent to take action to reduce potential impacts of manure spills.


Manure spills are governed by the "Discharge and Discovery Reporting" chapter of the Saskatchewan Environmental Code. Liquid manure spills of greater than 1,000 litres that occur onsite or greater than 500 litres that occur offsite must be reported to Saskatchewan Ministry of the Environment. It is also important to report the spill to the Agricultural Operations Unit, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Refer to the Manure Spills Report Form for reporting information.

Under the Code, "Onsite" means on and completely contained within the boundaries of the property owned or occupied by the owner of a substance. Land that is receiving manure – owned, leased or by agreement – would be considered "onsite." Municipal right-of-ways, roadways, railway property and drainage ditches are considered "offsite."

The Discharge and Discovery Reporting Standard states, "There is no obligation to report the intentional, lawful and prudent use of a substance that is generally recognized as accepted, ordinary and normal." Land application of manure as a soil amendment and crop nutrient at agronomic rates is considered a normally accepted agricultural practice.

Liquid manure is subject to ponding during the typical manure application procedure. For example, clean-out of hoses following manure application will create a pond. When injectors are removed from the ground at headlands, liquid manure will remain on the surface briefly. This is not considered a spill.

Earthen Manure Storage

Seldom will a properly managed earthen manure storage over flow. Earthen manure storages designed to current standards will hold 400 days' worth of manure production and provide an additional 0.6 metres of freeboard. The following actions help prevent overflows:

  • Regular inspections of the manure storage berm;
  • Regularly check the manure level in the storage;
  • Maintain 0.6 metres freeboard;
  • Establish capacity for 400 days' worth of storage; and
  • Minimize water usage.

Liquid manure is typically transferred to the storage from the barn through underground pipelines. Care should be taken during installation of the lines to ensure they are protected from damage, that seals are properly fitted and that the pipe bed is free of sharp rocks. In the event that an underground line ruptures and more than 1,000 litres is released, it would be considered a reportable spill. Pooled liquid should be contained and collected for proper land application or returned to the storage. Contact regulatory authorities for direction on clean-up requirements.

The following actions help minimize spills while pumping liquid manure:

  • Consider the environmental risks associated with a spill when planning routes for tankers and hoses. Identify culvert locations in advance in order to minimize spill flow paths.
  • Prepare an Emergency Action Plan to deal with spill events. This plan should include equipment requirements, procedures and contacts for emergency personnel and equipment suppliers such as vacuum trucks.
  • Train all staff on spill prevention and containment procedures.
  • Monitor line pressure and have remote control equipment or procedures that allow for stopping the pump from the application point. Create air breaks to prevent siphoning of manure.
  • Have a front end loader and/or straw bales available when pumping manure to quickly build containment berms, collection pits and ditches, block culverts, pinch off a ruptured hose, etc.
  • Have clean-up equipment readily available, such as pumps, hoses and shovels.

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