An 8-step process for developing a horse manure management plan: Part 8 – Manure emergency spill response

Need to develop a horse manure management plan? Follow this 8 article series that discusses the components of developing a horse manure management plan.

Emergency Spill Response: areas where manure spills are more likely to occur

Although horse manure is not commonly involved in large spills that are seen by the public, it is still important to have an emergency spill response plan in place. This is also important when considering human safety as well as environmental safety. While manure spills are thought of as occurring on roadways, manure spills can also be considered over application of manure, especially if a large rain or snowmelt event occurs shortly after application. With that in mind, where are the areas that manure spills commonly occur as shown by the presentation, Practical Considerations for Solid Manure by Melony Wilson:

  • Loading area (transfer area)
  • Local transport
  • Long distance hauling
  • Field spreading/land application

Emergency Spill Response: what should you do?

Should a spill occur, here are the spill response steps that should be followed:

  • Human safety first – always the number one priority. Make sure that everyone involved in the situation is safe and has received medical attention if needed
  • Control the spill – the source of the spill
  • Contain the spill – It is best to keep the manure in one area if possible and prevent it from flowing into nearby surface waters. Ideas or considerations for this may include: damming up an area using dirt or utilizing straw/hay bales as a buffer to absorb manure
  • Contact the appropriate authorities – Specifically in Michigan, the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD): 800-405-0101 and/or the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ): 800-292-4706
  • Clean-up the spill
  • Document the spill – this serves to protect you as it is proof that you made a concerted effort to minimize any associated environmental risk.

Emergency Spill Response: Prevention

Prevention is the most important way to avoid a possible manure spill. The 4Rs of nutrient management serve as a guide for prevention planning:

  • Right Source (type of manure)
  • Right Rate (application rate of manure to fields)
  • Right Time (time of year, weather forecast, neighbor relations)
  • Right Place (topography of the field, proximity to surface waters and wells)

Additional prevention techniques occur at the areas where manure spills are most likely to occur:

  • Loading area – keep the loading areas around storages and stalls as clean as possible
  • Local transport – only fill spreaders and to their potential and do not overload; inspect equipment before using to make sure everything is in proper working order
  • Long distance hauling – same as local transportation (if using your own vehicles/equipment)
  • Field spreading/land application – while it may not be the first thought when thinking about a manure spill, over-application of manure to a field can turn into an emergency response situation, especially if a large rain or snowmelt event occurs shortly after application (application as specified in the 2018 Manure Management and Utilization GAAMPs)

Now that we have been through all 8 articles of this Developing a Horse Manure Management Plan series, you know how to better get your poop in a group and how to effectively manage horse manure.

By approaching your manure management plan one step at a time, this will help with organizing your resources that makes the process more efficient and less overwhelming. Happy Trails!

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