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Waste Storage

Waste Storage









Structure built as part of a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan to protect water bodies from nutrient-laden runoff; stores animal waste until conditions are appropriate for field application.

How it works

The type of waste storage structure depends upon the operation. Options include earthen storage ponds, above or below ground tanks, pit under a confinement facility, or a sheltered concrete slab area. Waste can be scraped and hauled or pumped, pushed or flushed into the structure. The purpose is to safely contain wastes and keep nutrient loss and pollution of downstream water bodies to a minimum by preventing runoff. Waste storage is temporary; operators must plan to empty structures regularly.

How it helps

  • Protects water quality by preventing nutrient-laden runoff (from feedlots or hard surfaces)
  • Cuts fertilizer costs and reduces nutrient losses
  • Provides for field application of nutrients when conditions allow

Planning ahead

  • Is the structure planned for the proper location considering the landscape, potential odor problems, visibility, aesthetic value and compatibility with existing farm buildings?
  • Will the structure store manure in a form you have the equipment to handle?
  • Are there buffer zones of vegetation around the structure to filter any runoff and to improve appearance?
  • Is the structure the right size to handle the amount of manure during the storage period?

Technical notes

  • Storage period is determined by manure use schedule.
  • Storage volume should accommodate accumulated wastes and any runoff from the drainage area of the facility.
  • Runoff from land surrounding livestock facilities should be diverted from storage structures.
  • Structures should be fenced for livestock and human safety.
  • Ramps built for equipment should meet safety standards.


  • Remove waste regularly.
  • Watch for leaks, seepage and damaged fences and repair immediately.
  • Develop an Emergency Action Plan of proper actions and notifications if the structure fails.