Planning to Build or Renovate a Livestock Facility (Housing) Containing Manure Storage

Plan to construct or renovate a livestock facility containing manure storage on your farm? If so, this is a good place to start. Make an appointment with your building department to discuss your plans. Be sure to allow for adequate time to obtain all necessary approvals, including the issuance of a building permit before scheduling construction. Professional Engineering Services for design and general review of specific projects may be required for Nutrient Management Strategies.

Municipal Requirements

Verify Zoning

Contact the Building/Zoning/Planning Department of your local municipality and find out about the zoning of the site; the type of buildings permitted in that zone, and any additional zoning restrictions. Consider that the municipal zoning allows for an agricultural operation. Listing of Ontario municipal websites below:

Provide/Calculate Minimum Distance Separations

Municipalities are responsible for ensuring that the requirements of the Minimum Distance Separation (MDS) Formulae are met when reviewing building permits. Some municipalities may request the applicant to provide a calculated MDS setback for their review. It may be advantageous for the applicant to engage the services of a Nutrient Management Consultant to undertake the MDS calculation.

Building Permit

Complete Building Permit Application. Submit completed building permit application to your local municipality/principal authority. For all agricultural construction projects, the farm owner is responsible for obtaining a building permit. Construction can start when the permit is issued.

Professional Engineering Services

Review Ontario's Building Code.

OMAFRA Requirements

Prepare a Nutrient Management Strategy

Complete a Nutrient Management Strategy. The Nutrient Management Act, 2002, requires any building project relating to livestock housing or manure storage facility to have an approved Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) before a building permit will be issued. This applies to all farms that generate more than five nutrient units and are proposing to build, expand or renovate. Obtain Record of Approval for the approved Nutrient Management Strategy.

May Require Professional Engineering Services

Review Engineering Requirements For Farm Structures.

May Require Transfer System

Professional Engineering is required for design and general review of all liquid nutrient transfer systems.

  • Liquid nutrients include manure, milkhouse washwater and runoff containing nutrients

  • Transfer systems, which convey liquid nutrients to a holding tank, sump or permanent storage, require professional engineering design and site review of installation.

  • Transfer systems (both gravity and pump-pressure systems) include piping, connections and wall penetrations that prevent leakage of nutrients to groundwater. Flush systems are considered transfer systems.

  • With commercial pump systems, engineering design of the transfer piping is covered if the manufacturer's installation guide and specification are followed for type of pipe, size, operating pressure and gasketed connections. In this case, only site review of construction/installation is required.

  • Design of wall openings in nutrient storages, sumps and holding pits to accept transfer system piping shall be designed by the structural engineer responsible for that structure.

May Require a Site Characterization Study

The Site Characterization Study must be done for the construction or expansion of a permanent liquid nutrient storage or for the construction or expansion of certain permanent solid nutrient storage facilities without a concrete floor and located on a farm unit where the number of farm animals is sufficient to generate 300 nutrient units (NU) or more annually.

The Site Characterization Study must be conducted by a professional engineer or a professional geoscientist. As part of the approval of a Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) the investigating professional is required to complete and sign the site characterization section of an Engineer's Commitment Certificate. Keep in mind that the structural engineer will need the site characterization report before designing the storage. For more detailed information, please see this Site Characterization Factsheet.

Conservation Authority

If you are planning to construct near lakes, rivers, streams or wetlands, contact the Conservation Authority to see if a permit is required.

You may also wish to review the following:

For more information about Nutrient Management, see the OMAFRA website or call the Nutrient Management Information Line at 1-866-242-4460.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: nman.omafra@ontario.ca