Extension and Ag Research News

Accessibility


| Share

Consider Dirty-Water Containment Ponds and Manure Stacking Areas During Flood Preparation

Daily inspection is key during times of potential flooding.

As the spring thaw in eastern North Dakota continues at a rapid rate, inspecting the dirty-water containment ponds and manure stacking areas daily is an important practice for livestock owners.

“Producers must maintain two feet of freeboard, or reserved storage space, to accommodate a 24-hour, 25-year storm event in their ponds,” advises Mary Keena, Extension livestock environmental management specialist based at the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Carrington Research Extension Center.

“If your manure management dirty-water containment pond looks like it is going to overtop, is showing signs of major bank erosion or is being encroached upon by floodwaters, calling the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Water Quality, and reporting these issues before they happen is the best plan of action,” says Rachel Strommen, environmental scientist at the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.

Strommen advises that producers who must pump their ponds back to two feet of freeboard should apply the containment water to cropland or pastureland as soon as the ground thaws.

“While the nutrient content of the containment water is minimal, it is important to have it sampled and record the number of gallons applied so your nutrient management plan can be updated to include the pumping,” Keena says.

If a containment pond has an unpermitted release, producers must call the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality (NDDEQ) at 701-328-5210 to report the incident. Producers will be required to keep records of all weather events that caused the release, the date of the release, the time of the release, the location of the release, the volume of manure or runoff released, and the actions taken to clean up and minimize the release.

Another thing to monitor is manure stacking areas. Livestock owners should inspect areas where they are stockpiling manure, whether that’s the edge of the field or a designated stacking area that may be prone to overland flooding because of this year’s weather events, Keena says.

Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus are highly susceptible to dissolving in water or moving with the soil, causing pollution in runoff waters. If a manure stacking area becomes inundated with water and runoff, producers likely will need to build a berm around the area to prevent nutrient-dense runoff issues.

For more information about containment ponds, contact your local NDSU Extension agent (www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/ag-home/directory) or the NDDEQ Division of Water Quality at 701-328-5210 or https://deq.nd.gov/WQ, or check out these NDSU Extension publications:


NDSU Agriculture Communication – March 24, 2022

Source: Mary Keena, 701-652-2951, mary.keena@ndsu.edu

Editor: Elizabeth Cronin, 701-231-5391, elizabeth.cronin@ndsu.edu

Creative Commons License
Feel free to use and share this content, but please do so under the conditions of our Creative Commons license and our Rules for Use. Thanks.