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Agricultural Water Enhancement Program Protects NYC Drinking Water

The earthen manure storage used by the landowner became undersized as years passed

The earthen manure storage used by the landowner became undersized as years passed. Full screen view

The interior of the completed covered manure storage

The interior of the completed covered manure storage.
Full screen view

NRCS has partnered with the Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC) through an Agricultural Water Enhancement Program (AWEP) agreement to address livestock waste concerns in the New York City watershed. Since 2009, nine farms have been awarded AWEP contracts totaling $1,425,188 for livestock waste projects.

One project, completed in October 2012, is the Webcrest Farm manure storage tank in Delaware County. Webcrest Farm is a 438 acre dairy farm owned and operated by Ed and Donna Weber. The farm is at the headwaters of the Little Delaware River in the Town of Bovina in the Cannonsville Reservoir Watershed. The Cannonsville Reservoir provides unfiltered drinking water to New York City.

The exterior of the completed covered manure storage
The exterior of the completed
covered manure storage
.
Full screen view

The existing earthen lagoon manure storage was constructed in the late 1980s with an overall capacity of 360 thousand gallons. The current monthly waste generated averages 133 thousand gallons, including animal waste, bedding, milkhouse waste, and rainfall. The original earthen storage pit was not designed to handle the addition of liquid milkhouse waste and years with a high annual rainfall. This caused management and manure spreading issues for the Webers. Plans were developed to install a new covered concrete manure storage tank located approximately on the same footprint as the original earthen storage with an increased capacity of 590,000 gallons. The new roofed structure provides nine months of storage capacity, preventing spreading on sensitive or inaccessible winter time fields. The manure storage also let the Webers spread the nutrient rich manure on a schedule that maximizes crop and hay production.

NRCS offers voluntary programs that provide financial and technical assistance to eligible agricultural producers who are willing to address priority environmental issues by implementing conservation practices. If you are interested in learning more about how conservation programs may protect natural resources on your farm, please contact your local NRCS office.