How to store slurry safely?


There is increasing pressure when it comes to safely storing manures and fertilisers, and farmers need to make sure that it is not harming the environment in any way.

New legislation dictates that all farmers have to meet Nitrate Vulnerable Zone standards, regardless of whether they are in a NVZ zone or not. Anyone applying herbicides, insecticides or fungicides must hold a certificate in their safe use and equivalent accredited training for handling fertiliser and manure.

The rules surrounding storage of fertilisers and manures are covered by a wide range of legislation including the Storing Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil (SSAFO) rules, the Control of Pollution Act 1989 and the Dangerous Substances Regulations 1990.

What are the consequences of breaking these rules?

Inorganic fertiliser is extremely hazardous and can be explosive, so accidents with the storage of it can lead to devastating environmental, financial and human losses. Organic manure is also highly polluting and can emit lethal gases – killing two to three farmers every year.

It is also punishable by law, so it is in your best interest to keep to these rules.

Our advice is as follows:

Inorganic Fertiliser

  • Store in a secure place away from public accesses and watercourse
  • Don’t store near heat sources
  • Don’t store near combustible material such as straw or hay
  • Keep an inventory of fertiliser stored – report any losses or suspicious activity to police
  • It is a legal requirement to notify the local fire brigade and Health and Safety Executive if storing 25t or more of AN
  • Stack bags a maximum of three high and overlap to ensure stability
  • Don’t lift broken bags and when lifting with a forklift use rounded tined to not piece bags
  • Liquid fertiliser must be in lockable, watertight, specially designed containers
  • Fertilisers etc should be labelled

Organic manures:

  • Solid manure can be stored in temporary field heaps, as long as it can be stacked and doesn’t leak effluent
  • It must not be kept within 10m of surface water or land drains, or 50m of a spring, well or borehole
  • Don’t locate it in the same place each year – move to a new location and only return to a site after a two-year break
  • You should have sufficient capacity to store all liquid manures and dirty water from 1 October to 1 April (dependent on slurry type)
  • Grant schemes can be provided to cover slurry stores and divert clean water away
  • Ensure tractor operators are appropriately trained – slurry tankers can be easily overturned when fully loaded so they need to be handle carefully.

At Cotterill Civils we sell a wide variety of slurry and fertiliser storage solutions including tanks, cesspools and lagoons – give us a call on 0121 351 3230 to speak to one of our experts to find a solution that works for you!

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