Manure Manager

News Road safety Safety
Tools of the trade: Preventing and responding to spills

September 14, 2023  by Manure Manager

The best way to respond to a manure spill is to not have the spill occur at all. Proper road practices observed by all should, ideally, result in no manure spilled.

But we live in an imperfect world, and that means that sometimes, manure is spilled on the road or in the field. That means every manure handler and hauler needs to be prepared to mitigate damage to their surroundings.

According to Alberta Agriculture, one should always have a manure spill response kit, which includes:

  • shovels
  • pails
  • line clamps
  • flags, safety triangles, flashers or flares
  • berm socks or bales
  • plywood to block culverts
  • fire extinguisher
  • first aid kit

Ensure that all extinguishers, flares and first aid equipment is up-to-date, not expired and in adequate supply.


The essential steps once manure has been spilled include:

  1. Risk and safety. Assess the risk and ensure human safety – if a road incident, call 911 and place flares and/or other road safety equipment to warn oncoming traffic. Perform any necessary emergency first aid that is required at the scene.
  2. Extent and environment. Assess the extent of the spill and any potential damage to the environment. This includes assessing if the spill has reached any roadways, waterways or public property.
  3. Source. Stop or close any equipment such as pumps and valves in order to not contribute any additional manure to the spill. Plug any holes necessary.
  4. Containment. Take physical steps necessary to contain the spill. This could include building a containment dam, plugging culverts, and if possible, placing soil over the point of seepage.
  5. Report and notify. While 911 should have already been called for a road incident, the landowner, local authorities and local land authorities should also be contacted. Some jurisdictions have local farm telephone lines.
  6. Clean. Clean whatever is possible and return manure to storage; guidance may be needed from local land authorities.

This article is part of the 2023 Safety Week series


Stories continue below