The precipitation we have received in the State of Utah this water year has been record–breaking. While this moisture was badly needed, we must now deal with the flooding that will surely ensue. We realize that many of you may be at or near capacity on your animal waste storage ponds, bunkers and other structures, and that crop fields are completely saturated making the application of animal waste almost impossible. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food (UDAF) is concerned about our agricultural producers, and have been in discussions with our partners at the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) to develop the best approach to prevent, to the extent possible, animal waste from entering into adjacent ditches and waterbodies, and reduce the possibility of DWQ enforcement, which includes potential penalties. If you are at risk of having wastewater leave your operation, or if this has already occurred, we recommend that you do the following:
- Contact Don Hall at DWQ within 24 hours of a discharge, at (801) 536-4492 or email@example.com. If you haven’t discharged, but it may be a possibility, keep Don in the loop.
- Keep records of the precipitation you are getting at your farm and document the efforts you have made to avoid having a discharge. Take pictures to document before and after conditions at your location.
- If you must discharge, please do so to your fields. We understand that soils are completely saturated, but we have been advised that pumping ponds, bunkers, or other structures directly into canals, ditches, or other waters of the state violates the Utah Water Quality Act. If possible, make an effort to berm the fields and retain wastewater on site.
DWQ has given us the guidance to avoid discharges, if possible, and to promptly notify DWQ if any occur or are planned. If you are enrolled in AgVIP through UDAF, and have followed your nutrient management plan, you may be protected from penalties resulting from a discharge resulting from catastrophic weather and snow-melt events.
We understand that many of you have implemented all the best management practices available to handle animal waste, and appreciate your continued efforts to protect water quality. If you have questions or want to talk with an expert at UDAF, please contact Hannah Freeze at (435) 764-6258 firstname.lastname@example.org.