Liquid Manure Storage

This page highlights requirements for the storage of liquid manure under the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM Code).  Liquid manure is raw or untreated liquid manure from livestock and may contain wastewater, soiled animal bedding, spoiled feed, or other solids.

The AEM Code also has storage requirements for other agricultural by-products, such as vegetative debris and composted material.

General rules

  • Store only in a permanent storage structure with a protective base (e.g., concrete pad, engineered compacted soil liner or synthetic liner)  and divert any runoff away from the area.
  • Liquid manure may be stored only if used on your land or the agricultural land base it was produced on.
  • Fill to no more than 30 centimetres below the top of the storage structure (minimum freeboard).
  • Ensure there is sufficient storage capacity until land-applied or transported off-site.
  • Collect and contain any contaminated runoff or leachate; prevent it from entering watercourses, crossing the property boundary or going below the water table.
  • Prevent wildlife, pests, and domestic pets from accessing the storage area.
  • Follow minimum setbacks from drinking water sources, watercourses, and property boundaries.

​Specific rules

In addition to the general rules above, any new or modified permanent structures must be designed by a qualified professional and built according to that design.

If your operation is in a vulnerable aquifer recharge area you must also:

  • Have at least one-metre vertical distance from the bottom of the protective base to the seasonal high water table or have leak detection measures that demonstrate the structure is not leaking.
  • Inspect the protective base for leaks every six months.
  • Take corrective action to stop leakage and prevent further leaks.
  • Keep records of design plans, maintenance activities, dates and results of inspections, and any corrective action taken.

In addition to the general rules above, if you have an earthen storage basin (e.g. earthen lagoon) in a vulnerable aquifer recharge area, the following requirements also apply: 

  • If built before February 28, 2019, it must be checked for leaks by a qualified professional (QP) prior to February 28, 2021.
  • Assess every five years, or more frequently if recommended by a QP, until a protective base is installed.
  • Take immediate corrective action to stop leaks.
  • Keep records of the date and results of QP inspections and record all actions taken to fix leaks.

All earthen storage basins must have a protective base by February 28, 2029.

If there is an emergency situation, a director must be notified immediately. Liquid manure may be temporarily stored in a non-permanent structure as long as it does not overflow and is monitored for leaks, with corrective action taken immediately if any leaks are found.  


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