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Great Lakes Article:


June 23, 2002

Media Contacts: Forrest Peterson (320) 214-3789 Sam Brungardt (651) 282-6410

St. Paul, Minn. -- With all the recent rains, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is reminding feedlot owners in areas prone to flooding to take steps to prevent environmental pollution and minimize property damage.

Potential pollution problems related to flooding at feedlots include overflowing manure-storage structures and releases from underground and above-ground storage tanks as well as open feedlots located in floodplains or in sensitive areas where runoff can enter surface waters.

Farmers must call the Minnesota Duty Officer immediately at (800) 422-0789 if their manure-storage facilities overflow, if manure enters surface waters or if their manure-storage structure is inundated by floodwaters. If their manure-storage facilities are in danger of overflowing, farmers can contact the MPCA at (800) 657-3864 or (651) 296-6300 and ask for a feedlot staff person.

To reduce the likelihood of an overflow, feedlot operators are encouraged to divert water from manure-storage facilities if possible. Manure stockpiles located in areas that could flood should be removed immediately. Farmers with open feedlots should employ a scape-and-haul strategy that keeps their feedlots free of a manure pack; a weekly routine is common.

Apply manure on soils at elevations least susceptible to floodwaters, on soils that are as level as possible and furtherest away from surface waters and channels. Although applying manure to row crops may not be possible this late in the growing season, consider applying it to alfalfa or pasture.

Farmers should contact their local soil and water conservation district office or the University of Minnesota Extension Service for more information on allowable application rates and suggestions for the best fields to apply manure to to reduce the risk of pollution from flooding. They should be mindful of land-application setback distances from surface waters.

Underground and above-ground storage tanks also pose a potential pollution risk from flooding. To minimize the risk of underground tanks "popping" out of the ground, tank owners should make sure their tanks are properly installed and anchored. Keeping a tank full of product adds weight, making it less likely that the tank will become dislodged and float away. If a tank contains little product, water can be pumped into it to help keep the tank from floating away or popping out of the ground.

MPCA officials also recommend that tank owners secure all openings in tanks. Shear valves on underground tanks should be closed or "tripped" and power should be shut off to the system in the event of flooding. Shutting off the power prevents a tank's contents from leaving the system.

Also, tank owners should call the Minnesota Duty Officer at (800) 422-0789 if their tanks become damaged or liquid manure is released. Tank owners can call the MPCA at (651) 297-2274 or (800) 646-6247 for additional information on flood preparedness.

For more information about flooding and the environmental problems it can create, visit the MPCA Web site at

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