Contaminant Pathways

Common pathways for manure contaminants to reach surface water and groundwater
Common pathways for manure contaminants to reach surface water and groundwater.

Water quality can be degraded by contaminants contained in manure, from water used at milking centers, from silage leachate, and from open lot runoff. These potential pollutants typically follow one or more possible pathways to water (see figure to the right).

Runoff: Runoff from open lots, land application sites, and manure and feed storage units is a common pathway for contaminant transport. All contaminants in manure can travel with surface water runoff and through soil erosion. Problems associated with phosphorus, pathogens, ammonia, and organic matter most commonly are associated with runoff and/or erosion.

Leaching: Dissolved contaminants such as nitrate will leach through the soil when the soil moisture exceeds its water-holding capacity. Most contaminants in manure and other by-products (organic matter, pathogens, and typically phosphorus) are filtered by the soil and generally will not leach to groundwater. Soil structure, chemical bonding with soil minerals, and negatively charged soil particles typically restrict the movement of most contaminants. However, soluble contaminants such as nitrate may move beyond a crop’s root zone and contaminate groundwater.

Well casings: Well casings can provide a direct pathway for contaminants to reach groundwater. Abandoned wells, wells with poor well-casing designs, or wells located in close proximity to open lots or manure storage can provide a pathway for manure contaminants to move to groundwater.

Ammonia volatilization and deposition: Ammonia volatilizes from manure storage, lagoons, open lots and land applications without incorporation. Once volatilized, most ammonia is re-deposited with rainfall or through dry deposition. It can be transported over long distances. Many areas of the world profit from this nutrient deposition. However, some areas of the world are experiencing deposition rates that threaten vitality and growth in local ecosystems. In the United States, coastal areas are often adversely affected by atmospheric ammonia deposition.

The five major contaminants associated with livestock and poultry by-products, their environmental risk, and common pathway to water are summarized in the table below.

Drag the boxes below into the appropriate blank cells of the table to the right

Nitrate

Fish Kills

Methemoglobinemia

Pathogens

Human Health Risk

Phosphorus

Surface Water Runoff

Potential ContaminantEnvironmental RiskMost Common Pathway to Water
Leaching
Ammonium
Surface Water Runoff
Eutrophication (Algae Blooms in Lakes)
Erosion and Surface Water
Surface Water Runoff
Organic Solids
Reduced Oxygen Level in Water Body - Fish Kills
Modified from Table 1-3 in the LPES Curriculum.

 

Part I of Water Quality Issues | Part II - Pathogens and Organic Matter | Part III - Contaminant Pathways | Complete the Quiz

 



 

Land Application Training Modules

FAQs

What Are Some of the Things I Will Learn?

  • Regulations as they relate to manure
  • How to manage manure nitrogen
  • In-depth discussion of recordkeeping and reporting needs
  • Manure and soil sampling
  • Application equipment calibration
  • The 2012 Nebraska P-Index
  • More about Protecting Herd Health with Biosecurity

How Can I Get Credit for This Training?

  • Quizzes are available at the end of each module. You must be registered to complete the quizzes.

  • Initial Training - Those permitted operations that have never taken land application training (either live, online, or as home study) must complete all modules. After all quizzes have been passed, you will be able to print a certificate of completion. Alternatively, there is a final exam that may be taken to test out of all modules. It may only be taken once and must be completed within 75 minutes. If failed or not completed in time, each module must be passed individually. The final exam is waived if all modules have been successfully completed.

  • Recertification Training - For those that have completed the land application training previously, in addition to completing the regulations module and quiz, you may choose 3 modules with quizzes to complete. After you have passed all 4 quizzes, you will be able to print a certificate of completion. Alternatively, there is a final exam that may be taken to test out of all modules. It may only be taken once and must be completed within 75 minutes. If failed or not completed in time, each module must be passed individually. The final exam is waived if all modules have been successfully completed.
  • You will receive your certificate by email. Once you receive your certificate, print one for your own records. Within a few days, you will receive a letter by email containing NDEE acknowledgement of your completion of the course. Please save this in your records.

Who Will Benefit from the Training?

  • All who are interested in livestock manure management are welcome to take the training.
  • Farm staff and advisors implementing farm's permit or nutrient plan are welcome and encouraged to participate. Consider making this part of your staff's training.
  • Recently permitted operations that have not completed the initial Land Application Training, and are required by NDEE to have manure management training should pass all modules in the Land Application Training or pass the final exam.
  • Additional manure management training is required by NDEE every 5 years for permitted operations. Recertification can be obtained by completing the regulations module and 3 additional modules and passing the corresponding quizzes or by passing the final exam.
  • If you are uncertain of your certification status, contact Leslie Johnson (UNL) at 402-584-3818 or Lindsey Roark (NDEE) at 402-471-4239.

What Will it Cost?

  • There is no cost for the educational modules on the university website.
  • The only fee is for registration to complete the quizzing or exam and receive a certificate. That registration fee is $60 per participant for either initial or recertification training.

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