Managing mortalities and processing waste

This page highlights requirements related to the storage and disposal of mortalities and processing waste under the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM Code). 

The AEM Code regulates processing waste that comes from the slaughter of less than 5 tonnes of livestock or less than 1.5 tonnes of poultry (live weight basis) annually. Refer to the Code of Practice for the Slaughter and Poultry Processing Industry if you slaughter larger quantities.

General rules

  • Only mortalities and processing waste from your agricultural operation may be stored and disposed of on your agricultural land base (with an exception for small amounts of composted poultry mortalities, see the agricultural composting section below for details)
  • Prevent mortalities or processing waste from entering a watercourse. If mortalities are found in a watercourse, remove them immediately
  • Store mortalities in a way that prevents rotting
  • Store processing waste in a completely enclosed structure that prevents the material from escaping
  • Prevent any contaminated runoff, leachate, solids or air contaminants from the storage or disposal area from entering watercourses, groundwater or crossing the property boundary
  • Prevent wildlife, pests or domestic pets from accessing the storage area

Disposal options 

Click on the following links for more information on specific requirements for each disposal option. 

  • Use only a composting structure or an outdoor agricultural composting pile
  • Limit the composting of mortalities or processing waste to five tonnes or less in a 30-day period. If you need to compost more than five tonnes, contact EnvironmentalCompliance@gov.bc.ca
  • Follow General and Specific Rules for Agricultural Composting as well
  • Make sure that only fully composted material is applied to land (no flesh, bones or recognizable parts)
  • Apply the composted mortalities or processing waste from livestock only on the agricultural land base where the agricultural composting occurred
  • If the agriculturally composted mortalities or processing waste contains specified risk material, do not apply to land used to grow crops for human consumption or to graze domestic ruminants
  • Agriculturally composted mortalities or processing waste from poultry may be:
    • (a)   applied to land only on the agricultural land base where the agricultural composting occurred or
    • (b) removed from that agricultural land base only if the fully composted poultry mortalities or processing waste are first mixed with poultry manure at no more than 10% of the total volume of the mixture
  • In a high-precipitation area, (an area that gets 600 mm or more from October to April, e.g. Lower Fraser Valley), cover the pile from October 1 to April 1
  • In a vulnerable aquifer recharge area, make sure the pile is not placed on coarse-textured soil (e.g. soil with a saturated hydraulic conductivity of more than 10-3 cm/sec)
 
  • The edges of the burial pit must be set back at least: 
    • 60 metres between each burial pit, unless the other has been unused for at least 10 years
    • 30 metres from drinking water sources and watercourses
    • 4.5 metres from your property boundary
  • Do not locate in coarse-textured soil (for example, highly porous soil that allows water to move through rapidly) or near unstable soils that would cause buried materials to escape
  • Locate in high, dry areas, not in areas prone to seasonal flooding or 200-year flood plains
  • Bury no more than 2.5 tonnes of mortalities or processing waste per pit
  • Cover buried materials immediately with at least 0.6 metres of soil and when closing the pit, cover it with at least one metre of soil then compact and mound it to minimize rain permeating into the pit
  • Divert runoff and prevent access and attraction of wildlife, domestic pets and pests
  • Keep records of the location, type and amount of material buried and when the pit is closed
  • If the site is in a vulnerable aquifer recharge area:
    • Ensure no more than one tonne of mortalities or processing waste is buried in a single pit
    • Maintain at least a two-metre separation between the bottom of the burial pit to bedrock or the seasonal high water table
  • The incinerator must be manufactured specifically for incineration of mortalities and designed to meet the following maximum particulate matter emission limits:
    • 180 mg/m3 for existing incinerators
    • 175 mg/m3 for new incinerators with a chamber capacity of less than 181 kg
    • 155 mg/m3 for new incinerators with a chamber capacity of 181 kg or more
  • The incinerator must be setback at least: 
    • 15 metres from drinking water sources and watercourses
    • 7.5 metres from your property boundary
  • Visually assess the opacity at least once every 12 hours during incineration and each burn cycle
  • Take corrective actions if, after reaching its operating temperature, the opacity level exceeds:
    • 20% for an existing incinerator or with a capacity < 181 kg
    • 10% for a new incinerator with a capacity of ≥ 181 kg
  • Keep records of the date, type and quantity of mortalities incinerated, opacity test results and inspections, and maintenance of the incinerator

Processing wastewater that is applied to land, must:

  • Not contain any solid waste or visible tissue
  • Be applied only on the agricultural land base on which the wastewater was generated
  • Not be applied to land used to grow crops for human consumption or to graze domestic ruminants if the wastewater contains specified risk material
  • Follow nutrient application requirements to account for any nutrients in the wastewater

Note: Processing wastewater is effluent produced by the small slaughter or poultry processing operation on your agricultural operation that may contain blood, fat, oil, grease, industrial cleaners and other liquid wastes

Make sure the containers transporting mortalities or processing waste off your property are completely enclosed and prevent any mortalities, processing waste or leachate from escaping.

 

Disclaimer: The information on this page is guidance only. Please refer to the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management for specific regulatory requirements.