Wood residue storage and use

This page highlights requirements related to the storage and use of wood residue under the Code of Practice for Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM Code).

Allowable types

Only clean, chipped or ground wood residues that are from wood processing, land clearing, or trimmings and prunings can be stored or used on an agricultural operation.

Clean wood residue means:

  • Not treated or coated with preservatives, paint, varnishes, and so on
  • Without foreign substances that are harmful when burned
  • Not exposed to saltwater
  • Not from construction or demolition

The AEM Code prohibits using wood residue to construct berms, as tile drain envelopes, to fill or level a site or to create an access way through a watercourse.

Allowable uses

Wood residue may be used as

  • Animal bedding
  • A component for composting or growing media
  • Fuel for wood-fired boilers
  • Ground cover
  • Plant mulch or horticultural bedding
  • Soil conditioner

Wood residue may be used for

  • Confined areas for livestock and poultry
  • Creating access ways on land
  • Exercise areas for livestock and poultry

Storing and applying wood residue 

Wood residue may be stored in a permanent storage structure or temporarily in a field for no more than 12 months in one location. Minimum setbacks are required for the storage.

  • Wood residue must not be stored on or applied to land where there is standing water or water-saturated soil, or on any low-lying area of a field prone to annual seasonal flooding
  • Ensure that wood residue, contaminated runoff, leachate, solids and dust do not enter a watercourse, water table or cross a property boundary
  • Ensure that leachate does not escape from the storage, and that runoff is diverted away from the storage

In high-risk areas

  • In a high-precipitation area (an area that gets 600 mm or more precipitation from October to April, e.g., Lower Fraser Valley or Vancouver Island), cover the pile from October 1 to April 1
  • In a vulnerable aquifer recharge area, do not locate the pile on coarse-textured soil when storing wood residue for two weeks or longer
  • In a vulnerable aquifer recharge area a protective base is required for a new or modified permanent storage structure (for example, concrete pad, engineered compacted soil liner or synthetic liner)

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