|LIVESTOCK, MANURE AND
PUBLIC HEALTH LAW
Farm animals in residential communities can produce byproducts and odors that can cause concern and public health issues for nearby water supplies and residents.
Most odors are caused by improper storage of animal manure. The manure, if kept uncovered, not only creates odor but also provides a breeding place for flies and insects that can cause disease.
Improper manure storage can negatively impact surface waters and drinking water supply wells. It can also adversely affect the public water supply when runoff from manure piles ends up in watersheds and reservoirs. When manure is stored on bare ground, rain and melting snow will easily transfer bacteria, viruses and nitrates to sources of fresh water.
Protection of the water supply and prevention of spread of disease is not only the wise and community-friendly thing to do, but it is also the law.
The Connecticut Public Health Code (Section 19-13-B21b) describes how manure must be stored and maintained. Improper storage of animal waste is declared a nuisance violation by the public health code. As with any violation of state laws, codes or reguations, there are legal consequences for property owners who do not obey the law. Penalties for violating such laws include fines, injunctions and related court appearances and legal actions.
For proper manure storage, there are three steps that must be taken:
- Store the manure on an impermeable (waterproof) surface such as a concrete pad or inside a water-tight dumpster.
- Cover the manure with a tarp, a weather-proof roof, or any other method that will keep rain and melting snow from transporting pathogens to other land (or water) on your property or onto your neighbor's property.
- All covers should be ventilated.
- Keep the manure storage area at the proper distance from your water supply well, your neighbor's well, property lines and other water bodies. Many town s have strict zoning and wetlands laws governing the location of manure piles and storage buildings. Call your local Zoning Enforcement Officer to learn about specific requirements.
For more information about constructing manure storage facilities, you can call:
- Your local health department. For residents of Bethany , Hamden , North Haven, or Woodbridge, call the Quinnipiack Valley Health District, at 248-4528 or contact them via their website, www.qvhd.org.
- The Connecticut Horse Council, 203-482-9500
- The Horse Environmental Awareness Program (H.E.A.P.), 203 284-3663.