2009 Nutrient Management Protocol for Ontario Regulation 267/03 Made under the Nutrient Management Act, 2002

Part 12 - Contingency Planning

Table of Contents

  1. General
  2. More Nutrients than the Nutrient Management Strategy, Nutrient Management Plan or NASM Plan Have Addressed
  3. More Nutrients than the Storage Design Capacity
  4. Agricultural Operations: Unanticipated Release of Nutrients
  5. Weather or Equipment Conditions Impeding Planned Storage or Application
  6. Managing Off-Farm Source Material
  7. Managing the VFSS

12.1 General

A contingency plan is a written document that sets out actions to be taken in the event that a NMS, NMP or NASM plan cannot be followed. For example, the storage facility planned for in a NMS 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 NMSs, NMPs or NASM 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, AD output or NASM 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 (which 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 and emergency storage trailers.

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

When the implementation of a contingency plan causes you to change any aspect of your NMS, NMP or NASM plan, it is important to assess the significance of the change and determine whether or not an updating of the NMS, NMP or NASM plan is necessary.

12.2 More Nutrients than the Nutrient Management Strategy, Nutrient Management Plan or NASM Plan Have Addressed

If the application rates for nutrients in a NMP or NASM plan are not at the maximum, the NMP or NASM 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 NMP or NASM plan must be recorded to reflect the actual amount of nutrient applied. In some cases this may mean an updating of the NMP or NASM plan is necessary.

If the application rates for nutrients in a NMP or NASM 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), or
  • acquiring more land through ownership, control or other arrangements.

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

12.3 More Nutrients 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 NMP if the application rates are not already at the maximum and update the plan as required by the Regulation,
  • transferring the nutrients 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), and
  • acquiring access to more land through ownership or control or by means of a rental or other agreement.

In the case of NASM, generators will have to make alternate arrangements for the management of the NASM.

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

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

There are important issues to be dealt with in a contingency plan due to the adverse effects that can result from a spill. 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.

12.4.1 To Avoid A Spill:

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

  • Calibrate your nutrient application equipment regularly so that you can follow the rate specified in your NMP or NASM plan;
  • Follow setbacks to surface water required by the NMP or NASM plan for the site;
  • Mark all tile outlets and tile inlets 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 or NASM plan for the appropriate tillage practices; and
  • Avoid spreading before rain events.

12.4.2 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; and
  • Then contact the 24 hour Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.

12.4.3 To Contain the Spill:

  • Minimize opportunity for nutrients 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; and
  • 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);
  • bulldozer or backhoe operator;
  • municipality; and
  • neighbours.

12.5 Weather or Equipment Conditions Impeding Planned Storage or Application

12.5.1 Timing Change

When the timing of a nutrient 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 NMP or NASM plan.

12.5.2 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.

12.5.3 Commercial Fertilizer Blend Change

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

12.6 Managing Off-Farm Source Material

Where the farm has a regulated mixed AD facility present, there may be off-farm materials stored on the property. The contingency plan must have some plan for dealing with any material that may not be able to be used in the AD facility for any reason. The operator may consider other disposal methods such as landfilling, composting or other processing methods that may be permitted.

12.7 Managing the VFSS

Where the farm unit has made use of a VFSS to deal with the runoff, the contingency plan must consider and outline options for how to safely dispose of the runoff if the VFSS fails to function effectively. The contingency plan must demonstrate how the runoff can be managed until the VFSS is once again functioning properly.


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: OMAFRA Staff
Creation Date: 14 September 2009
Last Reviewed: 14 September 2009