Best Practices in Managing Livestock and Poultry Manure Contaminants to Avoid Raw Water

  • • Do not slaughter sick or stressed animals since they shed more pathogens in their manure than healthy animals and therefore create greater opportunity for contamination.
  • • Make sure that the animals have proper access to food and water, adequate space, temperature, and ventilation, and a clean environment to reduce the stress on the animal.
  • • Use slotted floors in the animal housing facility to decrease levels of Salmonella. Animals housed on dirt lots or solid concrete are continuously exposed to contaminated feces, whereas with slotted lots the feces fall through the slots into an underground pit. This decreases the amount of potential pathogen contact as well as the time of contact. Cattle raised on a pasture do not have higher concentrations of potential pathogens.
  • • Use appropriate pest control measures to reduce flies, other insects, and rodents, which may act as vectors for the transmission of disease. Birds must also be kept under control.
  • • Modify the diet of the animals with the consent of the veterinarian in charge, to decrease the amount of pathogens being excreted in the manure. Do not use antimicrobials as growth promoters in the food for the livestock.
  • • Consider using organic acids in the diet of poultry to reduce the levels of Campylobacter and Salmonella.
  • • Reduce acid-resistant E. coli and E. coli 0157:H7 by abruptly switching from a high grain diet to a high quality hay-based diet.
  • • Feed pigs coarsely ground diets instead of fine-grained diets to reduce Salmonella concentrations. Feed the pigs a meal diet instead of pelleted feed to reduce Salmonella.
  • • Use vegetative filter strips as a means of removing sediment, nutrients, and microorganisms. Direct all runoff and erosion from feedlots across these areas. Be sure to have adequate fly, other insect, and rodent control measures in place.
  • • Place permanent stockpiles of manure on a concrete pad or clay base with at least a 2-foot distance between the bottom of the stockpile and the seasonally high water table. Catch basins should be used to prevent runoff from this stockpile into any body of water. The contents of the catch basins must be applied to the land or treated before the release of the liquid. Divert the rainwater above the areas of the open lots or manure piles so the water will not carry contaminants to other places.
  • • Fence in all open water from animals and provide another drinking water source for them.
  • • Biologically treat manure by using anaerobic lagoons in southern climates or deep pits in northern climates, where pathogens will be reduced within a 30-day period; composting where the organic matter will be broken down by microorganisms and create heat, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, and most pathogens will be destroyed at 131°F; aeration systems, using mechanical aeration devices, in long shallow storage facilities, where the heat generated and the aeration helps reduce pathogens especially viruses; and an anaerobic digester which stabilizes the manure and controls odors as well as reduces E. coli, Salmonella typhimurium, and Yersinia enterocolitica.
  • • Chemically treat manure with chlorine which is very effective for bacteria but less so for viruses and protozoa; lime stabilization which reduces odor and pathogens before spreading the manure on the land; ozone which is a powerful oxidizing agent to kill bacteria, especially E. coli, and will reduce total coliform counts; and pasteurization of the manure which requires temperatures of 158°F for 30 minutes and will reduce all pathogens but may be extremely expensive.
  • • When applying manure to the land to reduce the potential for disease in people by contaminated runoff, consider the rate of application, the seasonal conditions, the weather conditions, and provide means of capturing the runoff. When the land is dry, then the sunlight containing ultraviolet rays and natural drying will reduce potential pathogens.
  • • Do not graze animals on land which has had a recent application of manure.
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