Potential Options for Disposal of Carcasses following Flock Depopulation
There are several options for disposal of large numbers of carcasses that meet regulatory requirements when a farm is required to depopulate because of lack of processing capacity, disease issue or market interruption. Ontario Regulation 106/09 Disposal of Dead Farm Animals specifies the requirements.
Options for mass carcass disposal include:
Option 1: Delivery to a Licensed Disposal Facility (Rendering Plant) or an Approved Waste Disposal Site by licensed hauler within 48 hours after Depopulation.
In both of these scenarios there will be cost associated with trucking the carcasses from the farm to these disposal sites. In the case of rendering plants there will also be a tipping fee cost for accepting the material and there is limited capacity to process this material so pre-booking a time and volume would be advised before undertaking the depopulation. In the case of the Landfill sites there will also be tipping fee cost for taking this material generally charged on a tonnage basis.
Licensed Disposal Facilities
Landfills that will accept deadstock
Options #2 and #3 listed below have a number of regulatory requirements that must be adhered to. If the farmer requires consideration beyond the regulations, they must submit written application requesting an Emergency Authorization under O.Reg. 106/09. However this request must be submitted to OMAFRA 48-72 hours prior to flock depopulation event. Contact OMAFRA for further guidance, either the Agricultural Information Contact Centre: 1-877-424-1300 or Dan Carlow: 519-275-0016 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Option 2: Windrow Composting of the Carcasses On-farm
This has proven to be a viable option for handling large volumes of poultry carcasses following a depopulation event. See Windrow Composting factsheet. If done properly after 40-60 days, the farm will have a pile of humus-like material to land apply to crop land as a source of nutrients, (N-P-K) and organic matter.
There are several challenges to overcome with using this method:
- Location of windrow piles away from sensitive features like 15 m from drilled wells, 30 m from dug wells, 100 m from municipal wells, 50 m flow path from nearest watercourse or tile inlet, 200 m from neighbouring houses, 100 m from neighbouring barns, 30 m from highways, etc.
- Compost piles must not be located on organic soils, porous sandy soils (hydraulic soil group A or AA) nor soils having depth less than 0.9 m to bedrock. Compost piles must be located at least 6 m away from field drainage tiles.
- Having sufficient volume of appropriate substrate material for composting. It requires large volumes of substrate material to build absorbent base under the carcasses to prevent liquid from seeping out and to provide adequate cover over the carcasses to prevent scavenging. Appropriate substrate contains adequate carbon containing materials to achieve target Carbon: Nitrogen ratio in the pile for the aerobic microorganisms to break down. Suitable materials include cereal or bean straw, corn stover, hay or silage, wood shavings or sawdust, poultry litter or bedded horse manure. Manure from cage layer barns is not recommended as it does not have high enough carbon content and without bedding it is extremely dense so not suitable for providing aerobic environment in the pile.
- The windrow will need to be "turned" or inverted at least once during the process to re-blend the materials and introduce oxygen into the pile for the microorganisms to do their job of breaking down the carcasses.
Option 3: Burial of Carcasses on Farm Property
This option is strictly tied to site feasibility as location of the burial pit is contingent on soil conditions and setback distances from sensitive features to prevent contamination of groundwater since the carcasses will take a long time to breakdown. There must be minimum 0.6m (2 ft) of soil cover placed over the carcasses to prevent scavenging and backfill should be mounded over burial pit to prevent water ponding on top of pit and to account for soil settlement.
- Burial pits must be located more than 50 m from a drilled well, 100 m from dug well or 250 m from a municipal well, 100 m from any surface water or tile inlet and at least 6 m from any field drainage tile.
- Burial pits must be located at least 15 m from lot lines, 100 m from barns located on adjacent properties, 200 m from lot line of land that is in a residential area, commercial, community or institutional use.
- Burial pits are prohibited from being located on land that is included in the 1 in a 100-year flood plain, contains organic soils or soil that is classified as hydrologic soil group AA.
- The lowest point of a burial pit must be at least 0.9 m above the top of the uppermost identified bedrock layer or aquifer.
Failure to dispose of your deadstock properly will be a threat to the environment, the safety of fellow citizens, cause nuisance complaints and is a provincial offence where an Agriculture Enforcement Officer from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has the authority to investigate and place fines for violations of Ontario Regulation 106/09 Disposal of Dead Farm Animals.
For more information on emergency disposal of on-farm deadstock please refer to these links or call the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at 1-877-42-1300:
For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300