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Nutrient Management for Combined Operations


Manure DisposalAnimal Feeding Operation
Iowa law requires that all manure from an animal feeding operation be disposed so that it does not cause surface or groundwater pollution. Animal feeding operations include open feedlots and confinement feeding operations. All sizes of animal feeding operations must meet this requirement. These rules also apply to manure that is produced outside of Iowa, but land applied in Iowa.

Separation Distances
There are also some separation distances that must be maintained between areas of land application and protected buildings or other locations such as sinkholes, wells and ag drainage wells. Producers and manure applicators should check the Separation Distances for Land Application of Manure to determine which separation distances apply to their operation. Recent changes in Iowa law added water sources and high quality water resources as protected areas.

Manure disposal is generally prohibited within 200 feet of a well, ag drainage well, cistern, surface water inlet or water source (lakes, rivers, streams, ditches, etc.) unless:

  • The manure is injected or is incorporated in the soil on the same date of application, or
  • Permanent vegetation covers the area within 50 feet of the designated area, and no manure is applied within the 50-foot area.

Manure disposal is also prohibited within 800 feet of a high quality water resource unless:

  • The manure is injected or is incorporated in the soil on the same date of application, or
  • Permanent vegetation covers the area within 50 feet of the designated area, and no manure is applied within the 50-foot area.

Reporting Manure Releases

A manure release, including actual, imminent or probable discharge of manure from an animal feeding operation structure, must be reported to the DNR within six hours after it occurred or was discovered. Releases that must be reported include any that go to surface water, groundwater, a drainage tile line or intake, or to a designated area resulting from storing, handling, transporting or land-applying manure. The DNR field office staff members are experienced in handling manure releases and may be able to help producers and manure applicators limit the extent of the spill or prevent extensive damage.

Releases should be reported to the nearest DNR field office during normal working hours. At other times or when the appropriate field office cannot be reached by phone, releases can be called in to (515) 281-8694 and to the local police department or sheriff in the county where the release has occurred.

Nutrient Management Plans

  • Existing open feedlots with 1,000 animal units or more must submit an NMP to DNR by July 31, 2007.
  • Proposed new operations and expansions that will have 1,000 animal units or more, and those operations that are newly required to have an NPDES permit (national pollutant discharge elimination system permit) must submit an NMP to the DNR with the construction permit application.
  • Existing confinement operations with 500 animal units or more must submit a manure management plan (MMP) to the DNR. For more information including forms and requirements, see entries for manure or nutrient management under confinements and open feedlots.

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