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Extension > Agriculture > Manure Management and Air Quality > Manure Leaks and Spills: Emergency Action Plans for Minnesota

Manure Leaks and Spills: Emergency Action Plans for Minnesota

Reviewed 2008

Emergency action plans provide detailed information on what to do if you have an accident or emergency at your livestock facility, such as a manure spill. While Emergency Action Plans are not required, it is a good idea to keep a copy of the plan with your manure management plan or records, production records, or somewhere that is easily located by you, family members, or employees. A well-designed and implemented emergency action plan can reduce the severity of emergencies, the risk to humans and animals, the economic losses, and the potential of environmental pollution.

This publication is designed to address emergency action plans in the event of a manure leak or spill. In addition to developing an emergency action plan to address manure management, you might consider developing additional plans to address mass animal mortalities, weather-related emergencies, or electrical, plumbing, or other mechanical failures.

An emergency action plan should contain four items:

  1. a plan of action to prevent the release of manure or prevent environmental contamination
  2. a detailed map of the site and application fields
  3. a list of contact names and numbers included with the plan and posted near the phone
  4. a clean-up plan

This fact sheet is not designed to be a "fill-in-the-blank" form. It is designed to give you the basic information needed to prepare an emergency action plan. The plan you design will be specific to your livestock facility and your management practices. You may want to work with your local emergency management coordinator when developing your emergency action plan. The coordinator can help you identify resources and file any necessary notifications needed in the response of an accident or spill.

Plan of action

A plan of action should be developed for each livestock facility. Review the plan of action every six months and make sure all personnel involved with the livestock facility are familiar with the plan. Items to consider for a plan of action include:

In the event of a manure spill or leak, every effort possible should be made to prevent movement of manure off-site. If necessary, contact neighbors or nearby contractors with earth-moving equipment available to assist with containment. If tile intakes are present, have devices on hand to prevent manure from entering the tile lines. Contact neighbors with manure handling equipment to land apply the manure. Prevent manure from entering bodies of water or other environmentally sensitive areas, such as sinkholes and ag drainage wells. For assistance, contact your local sheriffs department or other emergency response personnel in your county. State law requires that manure spills or leaks be reported immediately to the Minnesota Duty Officer at 1-800-422-0798.

Site map

A good planning tool for emergency action plans is a site map of the livestock facility. A site map can be of assistance to new employees, delivery personnel, and emergency response personnel. A site map should include the following information:

  1. Facility address and location (including 911 address)
  2. Building locations
  3. Electrical service boxes
  4. Water main connections and shut-off valves
  5. Identification of the manure storage structure with associated pump-out ports, valves, pumps, etc. . .
  6. Location of wellheads
  7. Identification of nearby tile intakes, sinkholes, ag drainage wells, streams, lakes or other environmentally sensitive areas
  8. Drainage and water movement indications
  9. Identification of property boundaries
  10. First aid kit
  11. Fire extinguisher(s)
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In addition to a site map for livestock facilities, copies of maps of fields for land application of manure should be included. If you already have these maps filed with your manure management plans, an extra set could be filed with your emergency action plan. These maps should include manure application setback distances, designated areas, watercourses, and property boundaries. It is also helpful to include the location of field access roads and gates. You may wish to file a site map with your MPCA regional field office.

Contact names and numbers

See forms below.

Clean-up plan

A clean-up plan should include methods of proper manure removal and land application of manure at agronomic rates. Manure applications from a spill should also be recorded in your manure management plan if you are required to have one. You should consult the Minnesota Duty Officer for appropriate clean-up methods. You may be required to file a report following a manure spill, leak or other incident.


  1. Contact Names and Numbers — Contact Numbers (55 K PDF)
  2. Contact Names and Numbers — Manure Leaks or Spills (63 K PDF)
  3. MPCA Feedlot Permitting/Compliance Field Staff Map (55 K PDF)
  4. Contact Names and Numbers — Partial System Failure — equipment suppliers and technicians (55 K PDF)

This publication was adapted from PM 1859, developed by the Iowa Manure Management Action Group and Iowa State University Extension. A special thanks to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, ISU Extension field staff, and State Emergency Response personnel for assistance.

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