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Laboratory Self-Audit: Animal Confinement Areas

Waste Stream Assessment:

Estimate what percentages of your waste fall into these common categories.  Add your own categories if necessary.

___% Biological and Veterinary Waste ___% Animal Waste
___% Water and Soil Quality Issues ___% Other

Now look at where you can reduce waste, reuse materials or recycle -- in the case of biological or veterinary waste, dispose of properly to avoid serious health hazards.

Use this checklist to identify possible problem areas.

Large Animal Waste

Manure - Do You?

  • Use properly managed manure as a soil nutrient source.
  • Compost manure or incorporate it into soil. Consult your Extension office or land grant university for application rates and nutrient balance information.

Develop a safe storage and application program appropriate for the amount of waste you produced. (Storage options may include: manure pile, concrete tank/basin/pond, earthen pond or metal tank. Application options may include: manual application, a manure spreader, tank wagon.)

Carcasses - Do You?

  • Consult local regulations for disposal, especially if disease may be of concern.
  • Check to see if carcasses can be sent to your landfill with permission.
  • Bury carcasses at least two feet deep. (This may be subject to local regulations.)
  • Keep disposal sites far away from wells and surface water.


Water and Soil Quality Issues

Stocking rate - Do You?

  • Maintain a stocking rate appropriate for your range. (Keep the rate low enough to preserve substrate and prevent accumulation of manure and waste.)
  • Maintain buffer zones between pasture or confinement areas and water sources (see riparian zone protection below). 

Water run-off - Do You?

  • Construct your confinement facilities on impermeable soils such as clays to protect ground water
  • Take note of the run-off patterns of your pasture, pens or corral.
  • Keep the confinement area away from water sources
  • Construct a barrier (like a ditch, grassy swale, berm, curb or interceptor trench) to divert or slow the run-off and allow plants to absorb nutrients from manure if runoff threatens a water source.
  • Divert water run-off which may flow into or through your pens from above.

Riparian zone protection - Do You?

  • Maintain buffer zones between surface water and confinement areas.
  • Fence off streams and construct water gaps or designated stream crossings for livestock.
  • Reinforce stream crossings and water gaps with rock or gravel on banks to prevent erosion. 

Biological and Veterinary Waste

Consult local regulations concerning veterinary, biological or infectious waste. Call your local veterinarian or department of livestock.

Gloves, sleeves and clothing - Do you?

  • Dispose of gloves or sleeves with normal waste, UNLESS they have been exposed to a suspected infectious waste.
  • Launder coveralls or clothing appropriately.

Medicines/drugs - Do You?

  • Control inventory as discussed in General Housekeeping.
  • Use all portions for their intended purpose.
  • Dispose of unused or expired portions with other bio-hazards.
  • Consult local agencies for disposal regulations.

Bio-hazards - Do You?

  • Consult local disposal regulations.
  • Heat-treat or steam-sterilize any container, glove, or waste that may have been exposed to an infectious waste before disposal.

Sharps - Do You?

  • Store used and contaminated needles, glass and blades in a sealed well-labeled "sharps" container.
  • Make sure your sharps container cannot spill or leak.
  • Consult local agencies for disposal regulations.

Other

Small animals - Do You?

  • Compost rabbit manure. (Mix leaves or plant material in manure pile under suspended cages; introduce earth worms to pile.) Do not compost rodent wasate and bedding as some diseases are spread through rodent droppings.
  • Place small or caged animal waste in a landfill. (Check local regulations.)
  • Bury or place carcasses in a landfill depending on local regulations.

Fish/aqua-culture - Do You?

  • Generally refrain from composting fish and fish scraps. Even though they can be composted, the high fat (fish oil) may attract scavenging animals.
  • Consult a local water quality specialist on management of waste water. Proper management depends on the chemicals and additives you have used.

Poultry - Do You?

  • Compost poultry waste and litter. It contains high amounts of nitrogen in the form of urea.
  • Bury or landfill carcasses depending on local regulations.

References:
  • Guide to Animal Waste Management and Water Quality Protection in Montana, 1996, Montana Department of Environmental Quality.
  • Pollution Prevention in Agricultural Livestock Production, 1996, Cooperative Extension; Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department, The University of Georgia.
  • Montana Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Management Guide, 1995, Montana State University Extension Service.


The P2 audit for Agricultural and Vocational Educators was produced by the Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Information Center, funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

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