Records allow producers to document manure application and related activities. Just as one keeps track of cash flow in a business operation, it is necessary to know where nutrients are coming from and going to in order to maximize the bottom line. Records can be used to refine estimates such as the quantity of manure produced, the nutrient contents of manure, or rates of soil phosphorus change. Finally, documenting activities is critical to a nutrient management plan.
Title 130 requires a livestock producer to maintain records documenting implementation of a crop nutrient management plan and other facility maintenance activities. Records must be kept for five years and be available to NDEE field inspectors, who must verify reasonable management of nitrogen. Inspectors may ask to see records of current and past manure application rates, manure analysis reports, maps of land application, soil tests, equipment application rate calibrations, as well as a record of land application training.
Records Required of Permitted AFOs
A permitted AFO needs to conduct routine inspections of the production area, irrigation system, and land application-related activities. Producers are encouraged to develop checklists of items to assist in completing these inspections and to provide a means of recording the results of those inspections. Records are also required for documenting the multiple activities within a CAFO. One such checklist is the Nutrient Management Record Keeping Calendar available from Nebraska Extension.
The owners or authorized representatives of animal feeding operations, which have livestock waste control facilities, but which are not CAFOs shall, at a minimum:
- inspect the livestock waste control facilities at least once a month; and
- inspect any irrigation distribution system used for land application of animal manures and the water source protection equipment prior to operation, and monitor periodically while in use to ensure that the system and equipment operate as intended.
What Records Should be Kept?
Land Application Records
Records must be kept that show which tracts of land had manure applied. The records should indicate date of application, start and stop times, the field, number of loads applied to that field, and approximately the number of acres to which manure was applied (not the total field size). Copies of these documents and maps should be carried to the field so information can be recorded during application before details are forgotten.
Manure Transfer Records
If manure is transferred to a third party, such as a crop producer who loads and hauls manure off the production site, then records of the manure transfers must be kept. These records should show when, where, and how much manure was transferred. Transfer records are just as important as manure application records.
Groundwater Monitoring Data
After inspection by NDEE officials, some livestock operations may be required to install groundwater monitoring wells that must be sampled quarterly. The water samples may only be collected by a certified well sampler or by the well owner. These samples should be sent to a laboratory and the the results sent to NDEE. Water samples must be analyzed for nitrate, chloride, and ammonia.
Storage and Precipitation Logs
Livestock operators who have liquid storage structures must have pond level logs that record the facility, date, and depth of pond level. Operators with open-lot holding ponds must also keep these logs to comply with NDEE and federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements.
If your livestock waste control facility (LWCF) does not have a roof or cover, and it captures rainwater or runoff water, then rainfall records should be kept. Precipitation records are required for all facilities except underbarn pits. Should the structure overflow due to a rain event, NDEE and EPA will request these records. Handwritten records of rainfall are adequate. Rainfall records (daily precipitation logs) are needed to verify compliance with NPDES permit requirements.
Managing liquid manure storages during chronic wet periods or after a 25-year, 24-hour storm can be challenging. Good records including:
- past pond levels
- local rainfall
- discharges (including pumping times, rates and pond levels)
- sites receiving effluent
are particularly important during these periods. A wet weather manure storage management guidance document is available for download. If you have a discharge, make sure that you notify the proper authorities in a timely manner (see discharge section below).
Land Application Training
The NDEE requires that all persons issued a state operating permit will have to be certified and receive ongoing training. A record of meeting this requirement should be kept.
Manure samples should be taken every time manure is applied. Manure samples should be analyzed for ammonium nitrogen, total nitrogen, and phosphorus. If a phosphorus-based strategy is used, then the manure sample reports must report total phosphorus as well. Manure analysis samples are used to plan proper application rates. Consequently, an inspector will examine how the manure samples were used to plan application rates for each year.
Soil Test Reports
Records of soil analysis for land that receives manure must be kept. Soil must be sampled at least once in the 5 years prior to applying manure.
When manure applications have been made on fields, the crop yields should be recorded. The yield information will allow the producer to account for nutrients removed by the crop.
Operation and Maintenance Records
The NDEE requires that documentation be available for any major maintenance activity done to a LWCF. An example of a major maintenance activity is the repair of a liner due to wind erosion. Records should also document regular inspections of required freeboard, slumps , and weak soil on the outside of the berms, rodent activity, wind erosion, inlet pipe erosion, or trees and weeds penetrating the liner. Any evidence of seepage on the outside of the berms is an indication that a catastrophic failure is possible.
A discharge is prohibited from a LWCF unless the discharge is to prevent facility failure and no feasible alternative exist. NDEE must be notified of the discharge, and the discharge must be conducted in a manure that minimizes adverse impacts to the environment.
NDEE realizes that even though systems are designed to have zero discharge, there are some circumstances where a discharge is inevitable or impossible to prevent. It is the producer's responsibility to notify NDEE verbally within 24 hours of becoming aware of a discharge, for for the need to request a discharge. The phone number to call is 402-471-4239. Upon verbal notification, NDEE will mail a form to be filled out detailing the situation and the actions taken. This report must be returned within five (5) days of the incident. Failure to report a discharge could result in enforcement action and criminal prosecution. Producers should maintain all communications and correspondence related to discharges for the life of the facility.
Emergency Response Report
The purpose of the Emergency Response Report is to outline action steps that have been followed during emergencies and discharges. Keep this posted and make sure employees are aware of the proper steps to follow in the unlikely event an emergency or discharge occurs. If an emergency or discharge occurs, notify NDEE and document the actions taken.
Regulations change with time. Future changes in regulation may require additional or different formats for needed information. Be aware of changes that will impact your operation and keep your records current for inspections.