2004 Nutrient Management Protocol for Ontario Regulation 267/03 Made under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002

Part 11 - Contingency Planning

Table of Contents

  1. General
  2. More Nutrient than the Nutrient Management Strategy or Nutrient Management Plan have Addressed
  3. More Nutrient than the Storage Design Capacity
  4. Agricultural Operations: Unanticipated Release of Nutrients (for example spills, breaks in equipment or storage)
  5. Weather or Equipment Conditions Impeding Planned Storage or Application

11.1 General

A contingency plan is a written document that sets out actions to be taken in the event that a nutrient management strategy or nutrient management plan cannot be followed. For example, the storage facility planned for in a nutrient management strategy may become filled with rainwater before the manure inside it is applied. Another example is a "spill" or unanticipated release of nutrients. Preparing contingency plans in advance facilitates the implementation of corrective action on short notice.

Contingency plans are a required component of nutrient management strategies and nutrient management plans and must be tailored to the particular conditions of each operation. The contingency plan should be reviewed by all relevant parties, including the owners of the land where manure or biosolids will be applied. Key people in every operation should be familiar with the contingency plan and know how to implement it.

Contingency plans should list in detail the contacts, equipment and other resources that are available should a contingency event occur, such as:

  • the owner/operator (who can authorize expenditures),
  • the number for the Spills Action Centre: (1-800-268-6060),
  • the local municipality (who can be contacted for drainage information and for assistance in spill response)
  • people renting or willing to lend equipment who are close at hand, and
  • equipment such as: loader tractors, emergency storage trailers,

When a situation has required that a contingency plan be put into effect, the plan should be evaluated to determine if improvements are needed and changes made accordingly.

When the implementation of a contingency plan causes you to change any aspect of your nutrient management strategy or nutrient management plan, it is important to assess the significance of the change and determine whether or not a renewal of the nutrient management strategy or nutrient management plan is necessary.

11.2 More Nutrient than the Nutrient Management Strategy or Nutrient Management Plan have Addressed

If the application rates for nutrients in a nutrient management plan are not at the maximum, the nutrient management plan can be reviewed to ascertain whether the application rate and possibly the frequency of application can be increased for certain parts of land. Any changes made to the nutrient management plan must be recorded to reflect the actual amount of nutrient applied. In some cases this may mean a renewal of the nutrient management plan is necessary.

If the application rates for nutrients in a nutrient management plan are at the maximum, the operator must be prepared to set up alternate uses for the nutrient. Some possibilities include:

  • finding a broker who can take the excess nutrient (a Broker Agreement would be required in such circumstances),
  • finding an intermediate generator who will accept the excess nutrient (a Nutrient Transfer Agreement would be required in such circumstances)
  • acquiring more land through ownership, control or an Application Agreement.

In addition, operators may consider other disposal methods such as landfilling, composting, incineration or other processing methods.

11.3 More Nutrient than the Storage Design Capacity

In some cases, generally due to adverse weather conditions, manure storages may be in danger of overtopping. The preferred solution is to land-apply the manure where doing so will not result in an adverse effect. Other options include:

  • alter the nutrient management plan if the application rates are not already at the maximum and renew if required by the Regulation
  • transferring the nutrient to an available storage facility with excess capacity (a Nutrient Transfer Agreement may be required)
  • finding a broker who can take the excess (a Broker Agreement would be required),
  • finding an Intermediate Generator who will accept the excess (a Nutrient Transfer Agreement would be required),
  • acquiring access to more land through ownership or control or by means of an Application Agreement, rental or other agreement.

Operators may consider other disposal methods such as landfilling, composting, incineration or other processing methods.

11.4 Agricultural Operations: Unanticipated Release of Nutrients (for example spills, breaks in equipment or storage)

These are important issues to be dealt with in a contingency plan due to the adverse effects that can occur. The contingency plan must outline the required equipment, contacts and safety precautions. The idea is to minimize the potential for a spill and if one does occur to ensure that the operator and the employees know what actions to implement.

To Avoid A Spill:

Spread the nutrient according to your nutrient management plan or put it in an adequate nutrient storage for later application. In addition:

  • Calibrate your manure application equipment regularly so that you can follow the rate specified in your plan
  • Follow setbacks to surface water required by the NMP for the site
  • Mark all tile outlets and catch basins for nutrient application and inspection purposes.
  • For a direct flow system use two people with a radio link or an automatic shutdown system.
  • Follow the NMP for the appropriate tillage practices.
  • Avoid spreading before rain events.

To Stop A Spill:

  • Immediately stop the cause of the spill if possible,
  • Shut down the appropriate pumps and valves,
  • Ensure the system cannot be restarted,
  • Then contact the 24 hour Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060 or your local Ontario Ministry of Environment office.

To Contain the Spill:

  • Minimize opportunity for manure to enter tile drain or plug the tile in the event flow appears to be contaminating the tile drains,
  • If the spill is moving over the ground surface, an earthen berm should be built with farm or commercial equipment, such as backhoes or dump trucks,
  • Notify downstream users.

The following contacts should be posted by all phones for immediate access in case of a spill:

  • Spills Action Centre (1-800-268-6060)
  • local Ontario Ministry of the Environment office
  • bulldozer or backhoe operator
  • municipality
  • neighbours

11.5 Weather or Equipment Conditions Impeding Planned Storage or Application

Timing Change

When the timing of manure application must be changed, adjust nutrient amounts to reflect the change in timing. In making such adjustments, however, you must not exceed the maximum annual nutrient application rate or the maximum rate per application and must comply with the requirements of the Regulation.

Adjust subsequent applications of nutrients to accommodate the change in timing of the nutrient application and record the change in your nutrient management plan.

Crop Change

Nutrient amounts and formulation should be adjusted (where possible) to account for a change in crop. If the nutrients have already been applied, the amount and formulation should be adjusted for the next crop where possible, to account for the previous crop change.

Commercial Fertilizer Blend Change

Where the nutrient composition that is listed in the nutrient management plan is altered, the altered formulation should be reflected in the NMAN plan. Subsequent nutrient applications should reflect changes to the original nutrient management plan.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 14 June 2004
Last Reviewed: 14 June 2004